Yesterday was an emotional day for Canada.
I picked my son up from his high-school co-op placement at 11:30 in Ottawa’s Byward Market, where, the day before yesterday, we were in lockdown as the evil jihadi (I’m not going to give him the courtesy of naming him) went on his murderous rampage.
For the record: the shooter’s father appears to be a
jihadi terrorist rebel fighter in Libya whom the shooter idealized and he himself was trying to make his way to IS/ISIS/ISIL – but was having a spot of trouble getting his Canadian passport. And his email address has been found on the computer of an individual currently charged with terrorism in Canada…
The shooter himself was a devout Muslim – so devout, in fact, that he found the Mosque in BC which he was attending to be too ‘inclusive’ and demanded of its Imam to deliver more ‘radical’ sermons. The good Imam not only did not give in, but kicked the jihadi out of the Mosque for ever.
Now that is the kind of Imam we need in Canada!!!
While in Ottawa, the shooter was homeless and staying at the Mission, where he kept trying to make the other guests there pray 5 times a day…which seems a clear indication that he was not satisfied with simply practicing his religion but that he was attempting to impose Sharia on others, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
But, enough about this evil creature – today was not about him.
Byward Market is the oldest corner of Ottawa – and teaming with life. While there, I picked up a bouquet of red roses and white lilies. With my son, we drove to the War Memorial, parked by the CNN trucks, and walked to the memorial.
The whole area around the monument was filled with people, standing somberly, some on one knee, some sitting on the benches at the perimeter of the monument. The colours that dominated the crowd were red, black and white and many people were wearing red poppies. A few people wore military dress uniforms – even though the spots where the honour guard usually stands were glaringly vacant.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
There was such a profound silence at the memorial that it felt as if any sound would instantly be sucked out of existence.
We had to thread out way through the crowd to walk up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where my son laid the flowers we brought – among the other flowers, wreaths, pictures, notes and even little dog plushies (Cpl. Nathatn Cirillo was a dog lover).
It is impossible to find words to describe the atmosphere there. Sadness, thankfulness, and anger, perhaps: but whatever it was, it was so intense it was palpable.
We hurried back to our car, as my son had very little time to make it back to school before his afternoon classes started, but neither of us spoke much for the rest of the ride.
After dropping him off, I went home to pick up my little Canadian flag and I headed straight to the Hunt Club street overpass over Highway 416, as this was the route of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s last journey…
By the time I got there, there were already quite a few people there – some of my neighbours, many strangers – and the ever-present media.
One man I spoke to said he was there for two reasons: to show respect for Cpl. Cirillo, and for Canada. He was angry – said it took a t to make him angry, but, in his words, ‘enough is enough’!
Along Hunt Club Rd.
Over the next hour or so, people kept coming and coming. And not just to stand at the overpass and all along the onramp the funeral procession was to take from Hunt Club onto the 416, the ‘Highway of Heroes’ – but cars parked along the shoulders in both directions along the 416, bumper to bumper, as far as the eye could see.
I have NEVER seen anything like it!
On the Hunt Club overpass itself, there were men and women of all ages. And children. And dogs. And all were solemn… Firetrucks with firefighters, cops lined up outside their cars…
When the funeral procession approached, all stood with their hats off, some saluting, some with right hand over their harts, many with tears streaming down their faces.
After they crossed the bridge, we all rushed to the railing to watch as they reappeared in the curve of the on-ramp. When I saw them coming, very softly, I started singing ‘Oh, Canada’. Much to my surprise, the man on my left joined in, then the lady on my right….and pretty soon, our anthem thundered up and down the bridge. We were not quite in sync, and many of us (me especially) sang a bit out of tune, but our voices grew strong and, Cpl. Cirillo’s car passed under us just as we sang ‘We stand on guard for thee!”
And we will: we WILL stand on guard for thee!
Today was an exciting day – and not in a good way…
It now seems more than likely that today’s shooting was a terrorist attack – jihad performed by a home-grown terrorist, as the shooter was known to the police and had had his passport confiscated for fear that he would go join ISIL.
ISIL is reportedly showing off pictures of him.
And, ISIL also commanded its minions that if they cannot go to Syria/Iraq to join ISIL there to go ahead and carry out terrorist attacks against people in their home countries.
Which is what happened at Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu on Monday.
And which seems to have happened here, in Ottawa, today.
So, here are some videos from today:
First, this is the War Memorial where the first shooting and the murder of the Canadian Soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo took place as he stood honour guard as the Memorial. (Aside – whose idiotic idea was it to have the honour guards have unloaded weapons?)
You can see the group of people where ordinary Canadian, heroes each and every one of them, rushed to Cpl. Cirillo’s aid – put pressure on his wounds and performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived instead of running for cover.
In the background is the Chateau Laurier (on the left) and the Old Train Station which is now Conference Board of Canada (on the right) and the North-bound lanes of Elgin St. between them. That is the route I take every morning to bring my high-school-student sun to his co-op placement, just a few blocks from here.
Second, this is the main entry hall in the Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament building, leading to the Library (the only original part of the Parliament buildings that was not burned down in the Great Fire. Off this hall are meeting rooms – and, co-incidentally, I have attended a wedding of a friend of mine in one of these room. (Yes, ordinary Canadians CAN book a wedding at the Parliament…though, after this, I’m not so sure….)
This is the front of the Parliament:
This map—last updated in November 2012—was created to illustrate the 100 most powerful buildings in Ottawa. Many of these buildings are under lockdown orders now: all federal buildings including Parliament Hill, the Elgin Street police station, the U.S. Embassy, the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library, the Rideau Centre, and the Ottawa courthouse, among others.
I hope it will paste/display OK – if not, please, follow the link.
The topmost highlighted building (purplish) is the US Embassy – and we were on lockdown in a non-Government (and thus not highlighted) building just a few minutes’ walk east of it.
Yeah, when it happens in a place that you pass several times each day, it really strikes home…
P.S. While in lockdown, I could – every now and hen – use my son’s work’s computer (but not log into anything, and so could not live-blog the event…). As such, I posted a few progress comments over at BlazingCatFur: thanks for the well-wishes and support from all the folks over there!
Yes, as soon as I heard what was happening, I rushed to his place of work and got into the building just moments before they locked it down.
However, we are now home and safe!
UPATE: The victim and the shooter have been identified.
The victim is Cpl. Nathan Cirillo – my deepest sympathies go to his family and friends.
The shooter is Michael Zehef-Bibeau and was known to the police’.
‘Ottawa officials say he was recently designated a “high-risk traveller” by the Canadian government and that his passport had been seized – the same circumstances surrounding the case of Martin Rouleau-Couture, the Quebecker who was shot Monday after running over two Canadian Forces soldiers.’
I hear ISIL has a nice photo of him they are circulating…when I get a link, I’ll update.
Well, well, well….
We knew it was just a matter of time before this would happen.