Monday, January 4, 2010

Mourning in Ottawa

This week there will be a memorial service to honor a police officer that was killed in the line of duty here in Ottawa. The service is expected to be attended by many police officers from across North America.

I am so saddened by this incident. The last time that a police officer was killed on duty here in Ottawa was in the early 80's. By all accounts, Const. Eric Czapnik was an amazing man who brought great honor to the uniform that he proudly wore. Although I never knew this man, I feel horrible for his family who must be suffering under this great loss. I cannot help but feel sad for them - and for the city.

It also reminds me of a similar memorial service that I attended a couple of years ago, in the wake of Hurricane Juan. During that storm, a paramedic named John Michael Rossiter was killed when a tree pierced his ambulance. A member of the Dalhousie Medical School Choir, we sang at his public memorial service. As it is so unusual for a paramedic to be killed on the job, his memorial was attended by both paramedics and police officers from across North America. I remember the sea of uniforms paying tribute to one of their own. I guess it is yet another connection, considering that here in Ottawa, paramedics fought so valiantly to save the fallen police officer. But more importantly, I remember meeting Mr. Rossiter's family, and their palpable grief. As a fellow Newfoundlander, I got the opportunity to pay my condolences in person. In a weird irony, we knew some of the same people. During that hazy, post-storm time, it remains one of my sharpest memories.

I hope that Constable Czapnik's family can take in the outpouring of support that exists here in Ottawa. May he rest in peace.

1 comment:

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