Thursday, January 31, 2008

Canadian Blog Awards.. and me?

The results are in: As selected by Canadian Blog Award voters, here are the rankings for:
Best Military Blog of 2007 as presented by Corporal Kevin Spooner and Captain Mike French (Snowbirds) are:

1. The Torch

2. Military Mom at Home

3. The Cannon's Mouth

4. What The F*&#!?!?

5. From a Canadian Cadet to an American Soldier

I'd like to thank all the many people (co-workers, military families and friends, and readers) who voted for me in the finals of the Canadian Blog Awards. It's truly an honour to have been mentioned and accredited alongside these talented people. I hope everyone took the time to peruse the many Canadian Blogs nominated. There's a lot of talent and information out there! Congrats to all and once again, thank you :) ~m.m.

Written: January 30th, 2008
Correction: With thanks to information received, I have learned that the correct last day to vote is January 30th - TODAY. gulp. I have updated my sidebar to reflect the correct date.

Written: January 24th, 2008
It is with much surprise that I have learned that this blog, Military Mom at Home is a finalist in the Canadian Blog Awards in the category of Top Military Blogs of 2007.
My main objective with this blog has been and is to offer support and information to friends and families of soldiers serving, preparing to serve and those who have returned - (a shoulder to lean on.)

So, I had to look and found that votes are still being still being taken on Round 2. If you're interested in placing a vote for any blog, click on this link on WordPress . This gives you a chance to see links to other military blogs offered to you as well.
To see all categories and selections, click here

Thank you readers..Word Press.. and thank you Mr Cage for the information.

How exciting!

Signals Soldiers Depart for Afghanistan


They loaded a truck with their army-issue gear, bid goodbye to families and buddies and then boarded a bus for the first leg of a long journey from CFB Kingston to the battleground of Afghanistan.
And every single one of them — all 27 members from the Joint Signals Regiment — was eager to get going.
“Every one of these soldiers wants to bea part of this mission,” said Lt.-Col. François Chagnon moments before he shook hands with his troops in the Friday morning departure from CFB Kingston.
The 27 soldiers are a part of a group of 80 who will be joining NATO comrades in the Kandahar region over the next few weeks, members of the Signals Corps handle communications — satellite and radio technicians and linemen.
Chagnon, who has served in Afghanistan, said his job of finding the right soldiers for the mission has been made easy by one thing: “I get volunteers lining up at my door all the time. It makes my job very easy.”
The soldiers will be away for about a year, officials explain. When they return, “we try to avoid sending them out again for about two years,” said Chagnon.
The Kingston soldiers will see a familiar face when they get to the Canadian compound — Cpl. Spike Hazleton, the former C.O. from CFB Kingston who is now in Afghanistan.
Already there are about 2,500 Canadian Forces troops posted in the Kandahar region, one of the most dangerous outposts in the war-torn country.
But for the group that boarded the bus on a bone-chilling January morning bound for the heat of the desert, it was all systems go.
“They’ve trained for this, they want to go,” said Chagnon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

We Remember Cpl. Etienne Gonthier

With sadness, I announce the name of a fallen Canadian Soldier.

At approximately 1:40 p.m. local time (in Kandahar) yesterday, one Canadian soldier, Cpl Etienne Gonthier, 21 year old, of 5th Combat Engineer Regiment based in Valcartier (Quebec) was part of a team of sappers conducting route clearance ahead of a convoy was killed when the armoured vehicle he was in struck a suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED), 35 km South-West of Kandahar City in the Panjwaiyi District.
Two Canadian soldiers were also injured. The injured soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to the Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield. They are in good condition and have returned to duty. They have completed next of kin self-notification.
Canada has lost a fine Canadian - a brave soldier.
My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of Cpl. Gonthier , and with his family - his comrades in Afghanistan. The courage and dedication demonstrated by Cpl. Gonthier in his efforts to assist the Afghan national security forces represent Canadian values in the finest tradition. He will be greatly missed.

God Bless you Cpl Gonthier - "Chimo"
Military Mom

Statement by the Minister of National Defence The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, issued the following statement today on the death of a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan:

"It is with great sadness I learned yesterday of the death of Sapper Etienne Gonthier in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers are also with his two comrades who were also injured in the explosion. Friends and families are foremost in our thoughts in these trying times.Our Canadian Forces are making an immense sacrifice to bring security, democracy and self-reliance to the people of Afghanistan while protecting Canada's values and security.These brave soldiers were part of a convoy traveling through the Panjwayi District of Kandahar Province. Efforts in this region are aimed at creating the conditions for reconstruction and development efforts to flourish in a country ravaged by decades of conflict.The United Nations-mandated mission is making a difference in Afghanistan and we stand proudly with our Canadian Forces members as they strive to bring safety and stability back to people of Afghanistan.Their sacrifice will not be forgotten."

RAMP CEREMONY - His Military Family Says Goodbye

Hundreds bid farewell to Cpl. Etienne Gonthier today. The soldiers saluted the man, called Jellybean by friends, as his body was escorted up the tarmac by eight of his brothers-in-arms.
"It is important to remember he did not die a victim but as a success in the profession he chose,'' said Padre Capt. Claude Pigeon.
The 21-year-old was killed Wednesday by a roadside bomb in the volatile Panjwaii district.
Padre Pierre Bergeron called on Gonthier's friends and family to stay strong despite the tragedy.

Photo Credit: City News
About 150 people lined up along the fence at CFB Trenton Saturday to watch the repatriation of Cpl. Etienne Gonthier.
The laughter and chatter among the crowd came to an abrupt halt at 2 p.m. when a CC-150 Polaris Airbus carrying Gonthier's remains touched down.
Many of those standing along the fence didn't even know the name of the soldier whose return had prompted them to gather, but all said they were there for the same reason: to show support and to show compassion for Gonthier's family.
"I've always wanted to come to one to show my respect," said Diane Langabeer of Picton, Ont.
"I want to show respect not only for the soldier but to the families that have lost their son or daughter."
Langabeer placed a small Canadian flag on the chain-link fence separating her from the repatriation ceremony. The flag, she explained, belonged to a friend's father who was a war veteran.
"The 150 people in attendance hopefully shows the family that Canadians do care and feel empathy when a soldier returns home in the same fashion as Gonthier," Langabeer said. "It's like they haven't died in vain."
Lise Belanger, a Trenton resident whose husband is in the military, was also attending a repatriation for the first time.
She said she too wanted the family to know their loss is recognized by others and their sorrow is understood.
"He died for his country, for liberty and peace," Belanger said.

Calling All Leaf Ticket Holders...

February 2, 2008
Canadian Forces Night
Air Canada Centre

They are asking Toronto Maple Leafs fans to team with them to host as many uniformed troops as possible at that game. You can help by donating your tickets that night to one of our soldiers so that he or she can enjoy the opportunity to experience a Leafs game. You can give this opportunity to one of our deserving troops simply by logging into your season seat account and forwarding your tickets to

Already planning to use your tickets to the February 2 game? You can donate tickets to any other game throughout the 2007-08 season by following the steps above. Please note that you must forward your tickets no later than five business days in advance of the game being donated so that they can make sure to put your tickets in the hands of an appreciative member of the Canadian Forces.
Tickets can also be mailed or couriered to:

Air Canada Centre
Tickets for Troops
40 Bay Street,
Suite 400
Toronto, ON
M5J 2X

A BIG HUA to the Toronto Maple Leafs fans!! And thanks Lynn for the info!!

P.S.... Who are they playing?? ... The Ottawa Senators !

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Our Thoughts and Prayers are With the Family and Friends of Trooper Renaud

Canadian Soldier Killed and One Other Wounded in Afghanistan

At approximately 7:15 a.m. local time (in Kandahar) on January 15th, one Canadian soldier was killed when the armoured vehicle he was in struck a suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED). One Canadian soldier was also injured.The identity of the deceased soldier is Trooper Richard Renaud, 26 years old, of the 12e Regiment blinde du Canada based in Valcartier, Quebec.The incident occurred during a presence patrol in the Arghandab District, approximately 10 km North of Kandahar city. The injured soldier was evacuated to the Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield. The injured soldier is in good condition, has notified his family and is expected to be released from the hospital shortly.

The thoughts and prayers of the men and women of the Canadian Forces go out to the family and friends of Trooper Renaud.

Message from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on the Death of Trooper Richard Renaud
It was with great sadness that my husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I heard of the death of Trooper Richard Renaud, whose vehicle hit an improvised explosive device during a patrol north of Kandahar City.He will be sorely missed by all of his colleagues from the 12e Regiment blinde du Canada, Valcartier, where he was based.All Canadians join me in offering sincere condolences to his family and friends, who are still reeling from the shock of this news. Please know that we grieve with you during this difficult time.We also wish a full recovery to his comrade, who was injured in the same incident.Canadians know the efforts being made by our troops to bring peace, security and stability to Afghanistan, and they honour the commitment of Trooper Renaud, who gave his life for this ideal.
Michaelle Jean

Statement by the Minister of National Defence

The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, issued the following statement today on the death of a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan:"We mourn the death of Trooper Richard Renaud who died today in Afghanistan. We also extend our wishes for a prompt recovery to the soldier who was injured in the same incident. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their friends and families at this difficult time.These soldiers were participating in a patrol in Arghandab District when the vehicle they were traveling in struck an Improvised Explosive Device.I join with Canadians who stand proudly with our men and women of the Canadian Forces as they courageously risk their lives every day to bring peace and security to the people of Afghanistan. The sacrifices of these soldiers will not be forgotten and this event will not deter us from continuing to help Afghans rebuild their country."Trooper Richard Renaud was a member of the 12e Regiment blinde du Canada, 5e Groupe-brigade mecanise du Canada, based in Valcartier, Quebec.

From Military Mom

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Trooper Richard Renaud both here and overseas. He is a true inspiration and hero to all. God Bless.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Families Meeting January 26th 2007

F.O.C.S.I.A. (Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan)
The next meeting of any Families of Canadian Soldiers serving or have served or will be serving in Afghanistan, will be on held:
Saturday, January 26th 2008
at 7:30 p.m.
at R.C.A.F. Wing 404
Members' Lounge
510 Dutton Drive
Waterloo, ON

Guest speakers will be Joan Stone (London MFRC) and Jen Stone (Hamilton MFRC). These women are developing a new Outreach program for family members of Canadian soldiers.
A time to meet with other family members while going through this journey. All families welcome.

(Please R.S.V.P. by January 25)

Canadian Accounts of War - January 14, 2008

“Fifteen Days” and “Outside the Wire”: Canadian Accounts of War
I'd like to personally thank Jennifer for notifying me. Guess who is coming to the U of T???!
Favourite author Christie Blatchford! As you may recall, I had been reading her book while sitting by my father's bedside while he was in intensive care. It's a tremendous book. Visually, it placed me right there.. in the sandbox.. I felt like was right there - beside my son during his deployment. I had not even IMAGINED what our soldiers had been and are going through till I read this book. On the same evening, award winning author Kevin Patterson will be present as well. Here are the details:

Monday, January 14, 2008
Hart House Library
(7 Hart House Circle)
University of Toronto

Hart House Library for an evening with Christie Blatchford and Kevin Patterson as they discuss Canadian accounts of war from their new books.
Long before she made her first trip to Afghanistan as an embedded reporter for The Globe and Mail, Christie Blatchford was already one of Canada’s most respected and eagerly read journalists. Her vivid prose, her unmistakable voice, her ability to connect emotionally with her subjects and readers, her hard-won and hard-nosed skills as a reporter–these had already established her as a household name. But with her many reports from Afghanistan, and in dozens of interviews with the returned members of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and others back at home, she found the subject she was born to tackle. Her reporting of the conflict and her deeply empathetic observations of the men and women who wear the maple leaf are words for the ages, fit to stand alongside the nation’s best writing on war. It is a testament to Christie Blatchford’s skills and integrity that along with the admiration of her readers, she won the respect and trust of the soldiers. They share breathtakingly honest accounts of their desire to serve, their willingness to confront fear and danger in the battlefield, their loyalty towards each other and the heartbreak occasioned by the loss of one of their own. Grounded in insights gained over the course of three trips to Afghanistan in 2006, and drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews not only with the servicemen and -women with whom she shared so much, but with their commanders and family members as well, Christie Blatchford creates a detailed, complex and deeply affecting picture of military life in the twenty-first century.

A remarkable collection of first-hand accounts written by soldiers, doctors and aid workers on the front lines of Canada’s war in Afghanistan.
Visceral, intimate and captivating in ways no other telling could be, Outside the Wire features nearly two dozen stories by Canadians on the front lines in Afghanistan, including the previously unpublished letters home of Captain Nichola Goddard, the first female NATO soldier killed in combat, and an introductory reflection by Roméo Dallaire.
Collected here are stories of battle and the more subtle engagements of this little-understood war: the tearful farewells; the shock of immersion into a culture that has been at war for thirty years; looking a suicide bomber in the eye the moment before he strikes; grappling with mortality in the Kandahar Field Hospital; and the unexpected humour that leavens life in a warzone. Throughout each piece the passion of those engaged in rebuilding this shattered country shines through, a glimmer of optimism and determination so rare in multinational military actions–and so particularly Canadian.
In Outside the Wire, award-winning author Kevin Patterson and co-editor Jane Warren have rediscovered the valour and horror of sacrifice in this, the definitive account of the modern Canadian experience of war.
Christie Blatchford has been a high-profile Canadian journalist for over 25 years, with columns covering sports, lifestyle, current affairs, and crime. She started working for The Globe and Mail in 1972 while still studying at Ryerson, and has since worked for the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun and the National Post. She returned to The Globe and Mail in 2002. She is a winner of the National Newspaper Award for column writing.
Kevin Patterson grew up in Selkirk, Manitoba, and put himself through medical school by enlisting in the Canadian Army. He began to write while stationed at Camp Shilo, outside Brandon, Manitoba, and studied creative writing at UBC. Now a specialist in internal medicine, he practices in the Arctic and Nanaimo, British Columbia. He lives on Saltspring Island.
Patterson’s first book, a memoir of a sailing journey across the Pacific entitled The Water in Between, was a Globe and Mail best book and an international bestseller. His debut short-story collection, Country of Cold, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, as well as the first City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. Consumption was his first novel.
At a time when the career path of many writers involves teaching creative writing, Kevin Patterson believes in the benefits of a different day job. Practicing medicine has nourished his writing, he told the Vancouver Sun: “Doctoring is a business where you go and listen to people tell you their stories all day long. It’s most gratifying and you get little glimpses into people’s lives that would never be revealed to anyone else. . . . It’s a completely different well than writing.”

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

WO Massouh and Cpl Labbe are Coming Home

Our fallen soldiers, Warrant Officer Hani Massouh, 41, and Corporal Eric Labbe, age 31, both of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment, based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, Quebec, are scheduled to return home to Canada tomorrow.

Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
When: Wednesday January 9, 3:30 p.m.

Present to pay their respects will be Her Excellency, the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and other dignitaries.

Please honour our soldiers along our Highway of Heroes (Hwy 401 West from Trenton to Toronto) - bring a flag, wear red, or just be present - let the families know we are here for them... supporting them during their difficult time.

They are in Canada - The Repatriation in Trenton

Cpl Eric Labbe is saluted in Honour
Family members grieve the loss of W.O. Hani Massouh.

The casket of Canadian Warrant Officer Hani Massouh is carried to a waiting hearse during his repatriation ceremony.
Fierce winds dominated the tarmac at Trenton Airport. Military officials were carefully monitoring the high winds for fear they could rip loose the massive cargo bay door on the side of the military transport that carried the remains of Warrant Officer Hani Massouh and Cpl. Eric Labbe.
However, amid gusts of 50 kilometres an hour, the proceedings went ahead as planned, with grieving family members and dignitaries, including Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean and Defence Minister Peter MacKay, braving the windswept tarmac.
The families of Massouh, 41, and Labbe, 31, each paid their respects in turn to their fallen soldiers, placing single yellow roses on the caskets, embracing and wiping away tears as they moved away from the hearses.
A trumpeter, flanked by an honour guard, played "Amazing Grace."
Labbe's six-year military career included an overseas posting, a 2002 rotation in the former Yugoslavia.
Massouh, who was born in Alexandria, Egypt, but had lived in Quebec since 1968, was a career soldier, having served in the Forces for more than 17 years. Massouh, whose five-year old daughter did not attend the ceremony, was just weeks from retiring from the military.
He had previously been deployed to Haiti, Croatia, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia.
Labbe's family in Rimouski, Que., was quietly trying to avoid the spotlight as they attempted to come to terms with Eric's death. Sunday could not have been a more heart-wrenching day at the home of Normand and Gertrude Labbé. In the morning, Mr. Labbé heard that one of his sisters had died at age 62. Then, in the evening, a phone call from the Canadian Forces informed him that his only son had died in Afghanistan.
"There is a lot of emotion right now," said Gaetan Labbe, Eric's uncle. "We'll get over it, but it's very difficult," "Eric had the desire and interest to pursue his (military) career," Labbe's family said in a statement last night. "Eric was doing what he loved and we are very proud of him. He always had our support in pursuing his career."
An Aunt said that the Labbés were so distraught by the two concurrent deaths in their family that an ambulance had to be called to their home.
"It was pretty rough for Éric's parents," said a cousin, Marie-Claude Labbé. "My uncle, he gets a call in the morning saying that his sister had died, then in the evening he learns that his son has died. It was too much."
The grief was echoed by the family of WO Massouh. "This is hard. It's so hard," said Nader Massouh, one of his four siblings. 41 year old Massouh, who was born in Alexandria, Egypt, was a career soldier, having served in the Forces for more than 17 years.
He was a veteran of several overseas missions. Prior to leaving for Afghanistan this summer, Massouh had previously been deployed to Haiti, Croatia, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia.
Massouh is the father of a six year old girl.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised the work done by Massouh and Labbe won't be forgotten.
"They deserve the gratitude of all Canadians for their commitment and the work they performed on our behalf," Harper said. "Warrant Officer Massouh and Corporal Labbe made an important contribution to the lives of the people of Afghanistan."
For Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean, their deaths reinforce the view that Afghanistan remains a dangerous place to operate.
"With the New Year having just begun, this new tragedy reminds us of the perilous conditions our soldiers are facing in Afghanistan," Jean said. "I salute their merit, their hard work and all the sacrifices they made so fearlessly."
Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Quebec Premier Jean Charest also expressed their condolences.
"It is important that we reiterate our support for our troops who are serving in Afghanistan and are working towards a noble cause," Charest said.
Highway of Heroes
Last night, fellow citizens quietly stood on the bridges crossing “The Highway of Heroes”, that stretch of Highway 401 between Toronto and Trenton.
The occasion was the repatriation of the remains of two Canadian soldiers, W/O Hani Massouth and Cpl Eric Labbe, who were killed in Afghanistan this week. On every bridge starting in Ajax and east from there, there was at least one fire truck with its lights flashing and a group of people waving Canadian flags in tribute to the dead heroes on their final journey home.
As the Toronto-bound convoy bearing the hearses of the dead soldiers passed beneath each bridge, those above came to attention, the firefighters and police officers silently saluting, while the civilians showed their support by waving the Maple Leaf.
What was particularly notable was that the further east one went, the more people stood on the bridges until somewhere around Cobourg and Port Hope there was standing room only.

Monday, January 07, 2008

January 7, 2008

Statement by the Minister of National Defence, Peter Gordon MacKay, on the Death of Two Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan
The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, issued the following statement today on the deaths of two Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan:"We have all been deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of Warrant Officer Hani Massouh, and Corporal Eric Labbe, who died in a tragic accident while serving Canada in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their loved ones at this time of loss.

Message from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on the deaths of Warrant Officer Hani Massouh and Corporal Éric Labbé
My husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I were deeply saddened to learn of the deaths of Warrant Officer Hani Massouh and of Corporal Éric Labbé, both from the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment, based out of Valcartier, during a tragic accident southwest of Kandahar City, in Afghanistan.
WO Massouh and Cpl Éric Labbé were killed when their Light Armoured Vehicle rolled over during a tactical move across difficult terrain. Both were taking part in Operation TENG AZEM (Steadfast Decision), a joint ISAF and Afghan National Security Forces operation aimed at disrupting insurgent activities in the region and at establishing a permanent coalition presence in the area.
With the New Year having just begun, this new tragedy reminds us of the perilous conditions our soldiers are facing in Afghanistan.
The deaths of soldiers Hani Massouh and Éric Labbé are another great loss. I salute their merit, their hard work and all the sacrifices they made so fearlessly.
On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to tell their families and friends, who are grieving today, that these men will not be forgotten.
Michaëlle Jean

Statement from Prime Minister Harper said "the contribution that Warrant Officer Hani Massouh and Cpl. Eric Labbe made won't be forgotten."
"They deserve the gratitude of all Canadians for their commitment and the work they performed on our behalf,''
Harper said. "Warrant Officer Massouh and Corporal Labbe made an important contribution to the lives of the people of Afghanistan.''

Two Canadian soldiers killed in vehicle roll-over in Afghanistan

A LAV III (Light Armoured Vehicle) pictured above
Two Canadian soldiers were killed Sunday evening when their light armoured vehicle (LAV) rolled over during an operation in southern Afghanistan.
Military officials have identified one of the victims as Cpl. Eric Labbé, age 31, 2e Bataillon- Van Doo (Royal 22nd Regiment) from Rimouski, Que.
At the request of the family of the second fallen soldier, the name will be withheld until Monday morning.
Military officials say both soldiers, involved in a multi-day operation in the volatile Zhari district of Khandahar provice, were travelling inside the turret of a LAV-3 as it journeyed along difficult terrain, a dirt track made slippery by rain when it flipped around 6:30 p.m. They died on the scene. Two other soldiers inside the vehicle were unhurt in the accident. They were driving to an area where they hoped to set up camp for the night. The soldiers were part of Operation Teng Azem, or "Operation Steadfast Decision," a joint ISAF and Afghan National Security Forces operation, aimed at flushing out insurgents and disrupting insurgent activities in the region of Nalgham, about 40 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City, establishing a permanent coalition presence in the area. The operation has been underway since Friday and will likely continue.

Officials say the incident was "unrelated to enemy fire." An investigation into what caused the accident is underway.

Monday, January 7, 2008 - 0824
The identity of the second Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan on January 6, 2008 is as follows:
- WO Hani Massouh, age 41, 2e Bataillon, Royal 22e Regiment, based out of Valcartier, Quebec.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Message from the Dion Family- "Extremely Proud of Our Son.."

Canadian Forces soldiers salute as the coffin bearing the body of Gunner Jonathan Dion is loaded on a plane during an early morning ramp ceremony Monday at Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan.Photograph Courtesy of: Cpl. Daniel Merrell, Department of National Defence

The family of private Jonathan Dion killed in service in Afghanistan on December the 30th 2007, wishes to make public the following declaration:

It is never easy for parents to lose a child. We are devastated by the death of Jonathan who, with dignity, gave up his life serving his country with honour and pride alongside his brothers in arms in Afghanistan. We are extremely proud of our son and of what he accomplished during his life including his career in the Canadian Armed Forces. It will be his distinctive smile and his joie de vivre which will remain in our minds as we think of him. He loved being a soldier and loved being in the company of brothers and sisters in arms.
Jonathan had found his rightful place in the Canadian Forces. He was maturing rapidly and showed that he was living life to the fullest and was developing his full potential. He was an example to all of his family and he was a great brother. Since he passionately believed in his mission in Afghanistan we supported him when he volunteered for this mission. Quite recently he was telling us he would like to return should there be a second tour.
Jonathan lived the major part of his life in the city of Gatineau. He loved his city, his small part of the country, and his neighbourhood. He wanted more than anything else to make a difference in the world around him. He died doing what he loved best, to be a soldier and serve his country.


Lise Marcil, mother of killed soldier Jonathan Dion, is consoled by friends and relatives during a ceremony for her son at CFB Trenton on Wednesday. I cannot imagine the anguish she is feeling - my heart cries for her and Jonathan Dion's family at this time. My prayers are with you.

The body of Gunner Jonathan Dion, a soldier from Val-d'Or, Que., who was killed in southern Afghanistan, arrived at a military base in southeastern Ontario on Wednesday.
A transport plane carrying Dion's body unloaded the flag-draped coffin around 2 p.m. ET at Canadian Forces Base Trenton. Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Gen. Rick Hillier, Canada's chief of defence staff, joined Dion's family in a repatriation ceremony.
In a statement issued Monday, Dion's family said they were devastated by his death.
"It will be his distinctive smile and his joie de vivre which will remain in our minds as we think of him," said the family.
"He loved being a soldier and loved being in the company of brothers and sisters in arms."