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It was in October 2014 that two members of the Canadian Armed Forces were killed on their home soil and that there was a shooting attack in the Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament Buildings. The first incident happened on 20 October 2014 when Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent (19 July 1961 – 21 October 2014) died from injuries as the result of being deliberately rammed by a car driven by a terrorist at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec. Two days later, in a separate and unrelated event, Corporal Nathan Cirillo (23 December 1989 – 22 October 2014) who was standing sentry at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa was shot and mortally wounded by a gunman who proceeded with an attack on Parliament Hill. As shown in the photograph, Canadians had shortly after the Ottawa shooting demonstrated immense personal support to the victims and families of the terrible events by placing a wide variety of tributes all around the National War Memorial, including flowers, plants, wreaths, poppies, cards, flags and handmade crafts, among others. One year later, on the anniversary of the shooting attack, about 2,000 people gathered at the National War Memorial in Ottawa - including the families of Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent, Governor General David Johnston (28 June 1941 – ), outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper (30 April 1959 – ) and prime-minister-designate Justin Trudeau (25 December 1971 – ) – to honour the two soldiers killed, and to pay tribute to their families and the first responders who stepped in to help. Following the national event, a plaque to commemorate Cirillo's life was unveiled in a private ceremony at the southeast side of the memorial site.
Today, on 22 October 2021, we commemorate the tragic events of October 2014 and honour the service and sacrifices made by Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo seven years ago.
André M. Levesque