Remembering Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and WO Patrice Vincent

This October marks the eighth anniversary of the heroic yet tragic deaths of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.

The two Canadian military personnel lost their lives while serving their country. Cpl. Cirillo was gunned down while guarding the Canadian National War Memorial. While WO Vincent passed away after being struck in a hit-and-run targeted incident just days before Cpl. Cirillo lost his life.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and his son Marcus check out a park. (Facebook)

Corporal Nathan Cirillo lost his life on October 22, 2014. He was 24 years old. From Hamilton, Ontario, Cirillo was a Canadian Army reserve soldier serving with The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise’s), based in Hamilton, Ontario.

Members of the Canadian Special Operations Force Command stand at attention at the naming ceremony for the new Canadian Special Operations Force Command Patrol Base, Cirillo during Operation IMPACT in Iraq on November 6, 2014. Photo: Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND. Image courtesy of Canadian Armed Forces.

A father of one, Cirillo’s son was six at the time of his untimely death. According to the Globe and Mail, Cirillo had aspirations to join the border control. He was known as an animal lover, posting many images of his dogs on his Instagram account.

The young infenteer died after he was shot by 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the perpetrator of the 2014 shootings on Parliament Hill. The incident had downtown Ottawa in lockdown and made news headlines worldwide.

On Oct. 22, 2022 Chief of the Defence Staff tweeted, “8 years ago today Cpl Nathan Cirillo was killed while guarding the Canadian National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We take a moment to pay tribute to his service to Canada and will always remember him. #WeWillRememberThem.

WO Patrice Vincent

Vincent (centre) receives an award for 22 years of service. (Hommage à l’Adjudant Patrice Vincent Facebook page)

RCAF Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, a 28-year Veteran, was a member of the Joint Personnel Support Unit, Integrated Personnel Support Centre St-Jean. He joined the forces as a Combat Engineer in 1985. He re-mustered and became a military Fire Fighter, where he was posted to various locations across Canada and served on numerous warships.

Members of the Canadian Special Operations Force Command stand at attention at the naming ceremony for the new Canadian Special Operations Force Command Patrol Base, Cirillo during Operation IMPACT in Iraq on November 6, 2014. Photo by: Canadian Forces Combat Camera. Image courtesy of Canadian Armed Forces.

WO Vincent’s life was taken by Martin Couture-Rouleau. Couture-Rouleau deliberately struck down Vincent and another CAF member because they were wearing their uniforms. The 2014 Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu ramming attack was a terror car-ramming in Quebec. It happened on October 20, 2014.  WO Vincent died from injuries, the another soldier was injured, and survived.

On Oct. 20, Gen. Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff, tweeted, “8 years ago today WO Patrice Vincent was deliberately struck by a car because he was wearing his uniform. We take a moment to recognize his service to Canada and we will always remember him.”

Honourning the Fallen

To remember and honour the two fallen soldiers, in 2014, an Air Task Force Iraq location was named Camp Vincent in honour of WO Vincent. And the operations base of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command in Iraq was called Patrol Base Cirillo, in honour of Cpl Cirillo.

Prime Minister Statement

To commemorate the events of 2014, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement, “Eight years ago today, Canadians were shocked by a tragic terrorist attack at the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill in Ottawa that took one life and injured several others.

“On this solemn anniversary, I join Canadians across the country in paying tribute to Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a sentry guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and to Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was killed two days earlier in a separate attack in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. Our thoughts are with their families, friends, and former colleagues, as well as all those affected by these attacks.

“Today, we remember the selflessness and compassion of bystanders and members of our parliamentary family who acted without hesitation to protect us, and we salute the first responders who put themselves in harm’s way to ensure their safety.

“The National War Memorial was built to commemorate the response of Canadians in times of war. It has since become a symbol of the sacrifice of all our military personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Parliament Hill symbolizes the values that define us as Canadians: freedom, peace, and inclusion. We will always stand up against violence and terrorism to ensure these values are protected.

“As we pay tribute to these two fallen members of our Canadian Armed Forces today, I encourage everyone to show gratitude to all Canadians in uniform – past and present – for their selfless commitment to our country.”

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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