This morning I was flying from Winnipeg to Toronto on WestJet. They have Satellite TV on board, so it didn’t take long until every TV was tuned to the events happening in Ottawa. To say it was shocking to see this type of terrorist activity happening right here in my country is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong I’m not naive and knew it could happen. However, now it’s real. As a patriotic and proud Canadian likely the fact it happened in our nation’s capital added to the shock, but certainly didn’t change the tragic parts of it.
First to address the death of the soldier standing guard at the war memorial. This was an cowardly and senseless act that had no purpose other than trying to terrorize Canadians. My hope and wish is this soldier is honoured as a hero in the world’s fight against terrorists, and Canada’s support for our soldiers grows stronger than ever!
Terrorists by definition take actions in an attempt to scare us out of our normal activities of every day life. On 9/11 they hit the US in a way I don’t think has ever had an effect of it’s magnitude. Don’t believe me? Just try and go through an airport in the US and look at the security check. Are we really any safer than pre-9/11 … I doubt it but the paranoia is certainly higher than ever and the cost and time is extreme in my opinion.
Now it’s come too close to home for Canada. The video of shooting in our Parliament building. The images of police and solders moving around Ottawa searching for another shooter. The armoured police vehicles & robots roaming around downtown Ottawa. The news of all of downtown being under lockdown while the police search for more shooters. The shocking images of a 24 year old soldier being worked on by paramedics at the war memorial, and tragically the news coming out later that he died.
I’ve always enjoyed my freedom as a Canadian to walk freely around Parliament Hill … it’s a beautiful spot! I could even go right up to the building and put my hands on it. There are too many countries in the world where that would be impossible. In fact anyone from any country in the world has always been welcome on Parliament Hill and could even walk through a door and tour Parliament.
Sadly I realize the next time I visit Ottawa things will not be the same. I can only imagine what will have changed a year from now. I’m not sure what things will look like yet but my deepest fear is because of the cowardly acts of a few we will not be able to walk up onto Parliament Hill at some time.
However, what I fear more is the reaction I could have to the events. It would be easy for me to evaluate the situation and tell myself it’s too dangerous to carry on with life. I could stop travelling to Ottawa, or anywhere for that matter. I could alter my career path and life so I don’t get out. Unfortunately the reality is this would fulfill the dreams of the terrorists as they want to get us into a cycle such as this. They want to put us into a cycle where we stop ourselves from living our lives.
Instead I will choose my reality! I choose to continue with my life which includes travelling to places like Ottawa. It’s one of my favourite places in all of Canada and no terrorist is going to stop me from going there! Will I be villigent about my surroundings … of course. But I refuse to give in to these cowardly acts. My only hope coming from today is the acts of a few don’t ruin Canada.