ARCHIVED - A young soldier's life ended in a senseless act of violence

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Article / October 24, 2014

Ottawa, Ontario -- Corporal Nathan Cirillo was gunned down at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beside the National War Memorial in Ottawa while standing sentry there on the clear and cold morning of 22 October 2014. He was 24 years old.

At the moment of his death, Cpl Cirillo was living his dream of service to Canada and Canadians. It was a dream he had cherished and desired for most of his life – a life cut short in a violent and senseless way while he was representing all Canadians in honouring the nation’s war dead.

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Cpl Cirillo attended Sherwood Secondary School and, from an early age, demonstrated a passion for the military.

He enlisted in the Canadian Army primary reserve in 2006 with The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise’s). He had not yet graduated from high school and his passion to serve was already strong.

He made the most of his eight years of service in the Canadian Army Cadets and the Canadian Army Reserves.

During those years, the enthusiasm, dedication and devotion to duty exhibited by Cpl Cirillo was evident at various bases across Canada. These included the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick, as well as 4th Canadian Division Training Centre Meaford and Garrison Petawawa, both located in Ontario.

Cpl Cirillo was always able to balance military and civilian life with his life goal of becoming a Regular Force member of the Canadian Army.

In his civilian life, he worked as a personal trainer and in security at various Hamilton area businesses.

It was there that his zeal for fitness, achieving high personal standards and demonstrating strong personal discipline perfectly reflected the values and skills provided by his military training and experience.

Cpl Cirillo’s family will remember him as a devoted dad to his young son, and as a loving son and brother.

On Cpl Cirillo’s Facebook page, he wasn’t shy about expressing both his love for dogs and his dedication to remaining a fit, strong and professional soldier.

Physical fitness was always a personal goal. Cpl Cirillo regularly competed at the highest levels of his unit activities. In addition to playing on the regimental hockey team, he was the unit pugil-stick fighting champion in 2013.

“Cpl Cirillo was a model soldier - balancing personal intensity in his training and commitment to fitness and soldierly skills with amazing levels of kindness and depth of character that won the respect and admiration of all who knew him,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Lawrence Hatfield, Commanding Officer, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise’s).

His absence will be strongly felt by both his family and the Regiment,” said LCol Hatfield.


By Captain Lazlo Benak, Army Public Affairs


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