Mrs. Colleen Fitzpatrick, who has lost her middle son, Corporal Darren Fitzpatrick, from an improvised explosive device incident in Kandahar, on March 6th, 2010, will be acting as the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother until October 31st, 2017.
As such, she will be responsible to place a wreath at the National War Memorial on Remembrance Day, on behalf of all mothers who have lost a child in the course of their military duty. She will also be called to perform duties honouring the Fallen from all conflicts throughout the year.
“The Silver Cross Mother is a unique Canadian symbol and something Canadians embrace. Having one symbol to focus our remembrance on, she provides a human face to the tragedy of loss in the service of one’s country,” explained Danny Martin, Deputy Director for the Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command.
“When she lays the wreath at the National War Memorial (second only to the Governor General), for all mothers of Canada, she is the only one in the formal part of the ceremony who knows intimately the true measure of such a loss. The people of Canada understand this and, through her, emotionally relate to both her suffering and those she represents. Through this empathy, the horror of war is exposed,” he added.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick and her husband of 32 years, Jim, have raised three sons, all now have children of their own. She has worked in Human Resources for the past 15 years and is now the Director of Human Resources for the Association for Community Living, providing advocacy, support, and services to people with special needs.
Cpl. Fitzpatrick was a member of the 3rd Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). He was 21 years old when he passed, putting Canada’s fallen soldier count in Afghanistan to 141 at the time. His family has established memorial bursaries in his name awarded annually to students seeking careers with the Canadian Armed Forces.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick become a strong advocate of blood donation following the passing of her son Darren, who received several transfusions following the explosion of the device, granting him two more weeks with his family. She has since developed a promotional video campaign called “Remembering the Power of Giving” for which she has received a national award.
“I am truly honoured and humbled by the nomination as Silver Cross mother. It certainly has me reflect and think of all mothers nominated who struggle daily with the loss of their child. They are an inspiration to me and to others in this time of remembrance,” said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.