This is #MyOttawa

by DaniGirl on October 24, 2014 · 3 comments

in Life in Ottawa

When I left the house this morning, I knew I’d be going across downtown for a meeting. Beloved and the boys had brought home some beautiful yellow roses for me earlier in the week, and I took a minute to pluck one out of the vase on the table to bring with me to lay near the War Memorial.

As I crossed Majors Hill Park, the sun behind me shone brightly on the Parliament Buildings. The Peace Tower, with its flag at half mast for Cpl Nathan Cirillo, blazed in light against dark clouds behind it, and all I could think of was this: even after the worst storms, the sun still comes out.

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Isn’t that how we are all feeling today?

I breathed deeply in the soft morning air and made my way between the Chateau Laurier and the Rideau Canal, a walk I’ve done dozens, maybe a hundred times over the years. As I came up the stairs on to Wellington Street, I could see the barricades had been pushed back even since yesterday.

In fact, I was surprised to be able to walk right up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There were at least a dozen uniformed police officers standing by, and probably a dozen more that I could not see. News trucks lined Elgin Street in front of the NAC and a few cameras were pointed at the War Memorial. Barricades had been pushed to the side, and city workers in orange jumpers were in the process of reverently carrying armloads of flowers, candles, notes and other tributes from their original location at the southern-most tip of the block right to the steps of the War memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I was able to lay my yellow rose right on to the steps.

I took a few steps back and then settled briefly on a nearby bench to reflect, and to breathe the still morning air. And to cry, just for a minute, overwhelmed by the moment and the beauty of the autumn morning and touched by the stream of people who approached to pay their respects or genuflect or to lay their own flowers down. A stranger passed behind me and ever so gently touched my shoulder, saying nothing, then continued on his way.

#OttawaStrong

It was one moment in a series of moments, like pearls on a string, that have sharpened my love of this city over the past two days, like the hashtag being used on Twitter called #MyOttawa, to celebrate what makes our city beautiful. A terrible, horrible thing has happened, and in its aftermath, we have defined ourselves through acts of beauty. From this heartbreaking article about the ordinary heroes who stepped into the path of danger to come to the aid of the fallen soldier to this video of the House of Commons paying tribute to Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers to the leaders of our political parties standing in solidarity and exchanging hugs in the House of Commons to the simple gesture of a passing stranger… this is #MyOttawa.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sasha October 24, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Thank you Dani. This is beautiful.

2 Jeanine October 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm

This is beautiful and touching. I had to read it twice to see it through my tears. Thank you for sweet, wonderful, you. ❤️

3 George October 24, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Wow. I’m speechless. Thank you.
We’re truly blessed to be living in this city.

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