Canada Bands Together In Grief, In Strength

View of the National War Memorial in Confederation Square, Ottawa. Image: John A. Brebner
View of the National War Memorial in Confederation Square, Ottawa. Image: John A. Brebner

Note: This article contains information that may not be suitable for very young children.

The main entrance to Canada’s government–Parliament–is housed in a clock tower known as the Peace Tower.

It was built as a monument to the people who gave their lives for Canada during the first World War.*

On Wednesday morning, something very rare happened there. The government is already taking steps to make sure nothing like it ever happens again.

A man entered the Peace Tower with a gun. He was brought under control by Kevin Vickers, the country’s “sergeant-at-arms.”

Vickers is now being hailed as a hero. Through his quick action and smart thinking, Vickers likely saved many lives.

When it was discovered that there was someone with a gun in the Parliament building, security officers whisked the Prime Minister and many other people to safety.

There are many brave men and women, including security guards, police officers and members of Canada’s military, who helped to ensure that the tourists, journalists and politicians who were in the Parliament building that day would not be hurt. They put other people’s safety ahead of their own.

Canada is mourning the loss of another hero Wednesday: Corporal Nathan Cirillo. The soldier was guarding one of Canada’s most important symbols, The National War Memorial. Like the Peace Tower, it honours Canadian soldiers who died for their country. Before entering the Peace Tower, the man with the gun shot Corporal Cirillo.

No one knows why these terrible events happened, but the people who look after the country’s security are making new, tougher laws to protect the government and Canadians. Police are also investigating the incident.

*Correction: This article originally stated that the Peace Tower was built as a monument to soldiers from the second World War. It has now been correct to read “first World War.”

By Joyce Grant and Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt: Media Literacy
All day Wednesday, Canadian journalists reported on the events as they unfolded, often putting themselves in harm’s way to bring Canadians the information. They did an outstanding job. One thing they were very good at was making sure their facts were accurate before reporting on them. Why do you think it is so important for journalists to get their facts right before reporting them? What could happen if journalists reported inaccurate information?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
The Peace Tower and The National War Memorial are symbols. The government is also a symbol. What are these things symbols of? Why are they important to Canadians?

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning. (OME: Reading, 1.5)

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations. (OME: Reading, 1.5)

Language Feature: Adjectives
There are two heroes who are mentioned in this article.
What is a hero? Think of as many adjectives as you can to describe one.