I tend to be a person who tries to find links between events especially when two powerful things are happening at virtually the same time. Sometimes it is a bit of a stretch but today I don’t think so.
For the past two days Canadians have been horrified by the events that transpired in Moncton, New Brunswick. For the uninitiated, a gunman dressed camouflage and carrying weapons was in a shoot out with the RCMP. During this battle which happened in quiet neighbourhoods three officers were killed and two more were seriously, but not critically wounded. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are our federal police force. You would probably recognize them from their red and black dress uniforms. In many provinces in Canada they are also the provincial police. This is the case in New Brunswick.
All of Moncton went on alert and the people and media followed the requests of the police. Stay at home, leave your porch light on at night, lock your doors and stay alert. Schools were closed, malls did not open, government buildings were closed. There was no bus service or mail service. Many restaurants stayed closed. Hospitals were closed except for emergency rooms and for people visiting the critically ill. The police requested that information about where the police were searching not show up on social media and it did not. Fear was rampant, police exhausted as the search continued. Yet Moncton and Canadians stood firm in the believe that the men and women who were dedicated to protect us would bring this to a close.
Thankfully, this morning June 6, 2014 just after midnight Atlantic time, the killer was arrested in the backyard of a home. There wasn’t a shoot out, just a man walking out with his hands up saying “I’m done.” when he was surrounded by the police. He is now in police custody waiting to be charged. Enough about him.
As soon as the arrest was completed the names of the three RCMP officers who had been killed and the two who were injured were released to the media. They are heroes. They were doing their job. A job that they knew could be dangerous but they did it anyway.
At the same time this was happening on the east coast of Canada the sun was rising over the coast of France as the 70th Anniversary of D-Day dawned. Thousands of people have been part of the
celebration remembrance of what began on that day. A massive exercise involving British, American and Canadian soldiers stormed the beaches at Normandy and began the drive that would turn the tide of World War II from a victory for the Nazis to a victory for the Allies.
The cost was great among all the countries that were involved over those first days. 150,000 men stormed the beaches, over 10,000 were casualties, 4, 414 killed the first couple of days yet they kept coming and fighting with a determination never seen before. Omaha, Juno, Utah, Silver and Gold were the code names for the beaches that would become infamous as thousands gave their all.
The Canadians landed on Juno beach and began their move inland. Soldiers died or were seriously injured before they even reached the beach and yet they kept moving.
Today marks the 70th anniversary of something I have only ready in history books and yet I have been fascinated as I have watched the different activities. A few men who had survived those beaches have returned. They are men in their 90’s now. This will be their last time to see these shores. They talk about those hours and days as if they happened yesterday. Vivid images and memories forever branded in their minds. They talk about lost friends and comrades who had one thought – to free France…regardless of the cost. They did it!!!!
How have I made a link between these two events? I am looking at the bravery and diligence of those that do their job each day regardless of the danger and possible cost. They don’t do it for glory they do it because of a belief in safety and freedom for all. The police officers who were killed and injured two days ago were not alive when the young Canadian soldiers hit Juno Beach and yet they are tied together in my mind. They did their job. They did it well. The police officers got up the other morning and while they were aware that something could happen it was not first in their minds. They went out to do their job of keeping the peace in their community and protecting the citizens of Moncton. The soldiers knew they were putting their lives on the line and still they did their job. For some they paid the ultimate price and their friends and families have mourned their loss and dreams for 70 years. For the families of the RCMP officers murdered they are just beginning this unwanted journey. My thoughts and prayers are with them.
They all did their job…..I am so proud to be a Canadian.