Ottawa shooting: Thank you for the reminder

Thank you Michael Zehaf-Bibeau for your actions in Ottawa. Thank you for walking into the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings with a rifle and opening fire. Thank you for taking the life of a solider, a friend and a son. Thank you for putting our nation’s capital into lockdown and cascading a veil of terror and sadness over an entire country.


But most importantly, thank you for reminding more than 35 million people about what being Canadian truly means.


The tragedy you initiated did not break our country. It did not corrupt our government; catalyze a revolution or anything you could have possibly hoped for. It united us, and for that we thank you.


Canadians of all ages, races, sexualities and beliefs gathered to mourn your actions. On Wed., Oct. 22 you shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo who stood serving our country at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The reason for your actions may never be known but you reminded Canadians of what we sometimes forget.


Our freedom, then and now, is thanks to Canadians such as Cpl. Cirillo. With our busy world it is easy to forget and take for granted the value of the lives lost and their time spent serving and, for that, we thank you.


Thank you for uniting the people of Canada that may have not had the opportunity to stand together due to their race, religious beliefs or differences. Regardless of who they love, who they believe in, or what colour their skin is, you reminded us that love for Canada is something we all have in common as we gathered in remembrance of our loss.



Thank you for reminding Canadians that in the times of tragedy we do not react with force, but with strength and respect. You allowed us to set an example for other countries that may choose to react with violence in national emergencies. We have shown them that aggression is unnecessary.


We can now better value the principles and actions taken by the Canadian government and authorities when people like you choose to attack innocent people. Thank you for reminding us that we live in a country that values all lives, despite their intentions.


Thank you for the many tears shed and hearts broken. You took a son away from his mother but gave her the pride in knowing that he died serving the people of Canada. Thank you for honouring her and the rest of the Cirillo family.


An entire nation mourned what you took from us. Flowers grace the place where you shot Cpl. Cirillo, at his family’s home and at the Lieutenant-Colonel John Weir Foote Armoury in Hamilton. Canadians gathered above the Highway of Heroes to watch his journey home from Ottawa. As they watched, they waved our country’s flag, in memory of who you took away from us and of what you never could: our national pride.


Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee. Across the country these words were sung but it’s you Michael Zehaf-Bibeau who reminded us of what they truly mean. And for that, we thank you.

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Raechel Bonomo is a second-year journalism student at Durham College, a fashion writer and enthusiast / crafter extraordinaire.