By Mike Armstrong in Vimy:
Six dead, one injured.
I spent a couple of weeks preparing for this trip to France. I read everything I could get my hands on about the battle of Vimy Ridge. I even went through family history. My great-grandfather was on the front lines as a signaller.
Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve felt pride for what Canadians accomplished at Vimy, and how important it was for the people of Arras and the surrounding villages.
I didn’t need another reason to be proud, but I got one.
Six dead, one injured… today… in Afghanistan.
I was in Indonesia after the tsunami, and I saw people who lost everything. Several months later I was covering flooding north of Boston.
I remember saying to someone that for some — it was like the tsunami. He looked at me like I was crazy. The flooding only affected a few hundred people. How could I say it was anything like the tsunami?
If you lose everything… you lose everything. Whether it’s a tsunami, a tornado, a flood.. whatever. It doesn’t matter if everyone around you loses their homes, or if it’s just you. If you lose everything… you lose everything.
If you lose a family member in service… you losesomeone you love in service. Six families lost someone today. My heart goes out to them.
Their names will someday end up in abook ina room in the Peace Tower in Ottawa. The names of the people who died at Vimy are also in that room.
I like to take my kids there. It’s a special place.
I want them to someday — feel the pride I feel.