Cpl. Nathan Cirillo laid to rest in Hamilton
WATCH ABOVE: The heartfelt memories shared at the funeral for Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, killed while standing guard at Ottawa’s National War Memorial, focused on the 24-year-old’s bravery and sacrifice for his country. Mike Drolet reports.
TORONTO – A military funeral was held Tuesday in Hamilton, Ont., for Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was fatally shot last week while on duty at Ottawa’s National War Memorial.
Scroll down for our live blog recap with full coverage from the funeral
Thousands honoured Cirillo by lining the funeral procession route, which began at the Argyll Commemorative Pavilion at Bayfront Park at 11 a.m. ET.
The procession travelled south along Bay St. North, east along York Blvd., and north along James St. North, ending at Christ’s Church Cathedral around noon.
Members of his regiment — the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders — surrounded the fallen soldier’s casket as they made their way to the cathedral.
WATCH: Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s casket is carried by members of his regiment to begin his final journey to be laid to rest
A large group of military and uniformed services members also took part, and there was a significant security presence along the route, including police snipers on several rooftops.
READ MORE: Nathan Cirillo, soldier and dog rescuer
There was also an honourary flypast by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s B-25 Mitchell twin-engined bomber.
The family has designated the church service as invite-only, with guests including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen. However, a video of the service was made available for members of the public to watch.
WATCH: Harper delivers eulogy at Corporal Cirillo’s funeral; commanding officer pays tribute; cousin Jenny Holland shares family memories
In his tribute, Harper talked about the “gut-wrenching” irony that Cirillo was killed guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“He knew what he was protecting and he knew what he was preserving,” Harper said.
“He died protecting and preserving.”
Harper said he hoped Cirillo’s 5-year-old son Marcus would one day take solace in the fact that the entire country “looks up to his dad.”
After the service ended, military units and uniformed service members met on the south side of York Blvd. for the journey to a private internment.
Anyone who wants to contribute to the Cirillo family can donate to the Marcus Cirillo Trust at any TD Bank branch (named for the young son he leaves behind). Donations can also be made to the True Patriot Love Foundation (a military support agency) or the Indiegogo standonguardfund.com (set up for both Cirillo and Quebec hit-and-run victim Patrice Vincent).
Cirillo grew up in Hamilton with his mother, two sisters and step-father, according to the funeral program. He enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserve in 2006 with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise’s) after demonstrating a “passion for the military” from an early age.
“Cirillo was passionate about his involvement in the military and often commented that it was a positive influence on his life and provided excellent motivation for personal improvement,” read the program.
Cirillo was standing guard at the monument on Wednesday when he was shot to death by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.
Kevin Vickers, the sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons, has been hailed as a hero for bringing down the gunman after he entered Centre Block on Parliament Hill.
On Friday, thousands of people honoured Cirillo as his body made its final journey along the Highway of Heroes, and Monday’s public visitation drew a steady stream of mourners past his open casket at a Hamilton funeral home.
“Cpl. Cirillo’s family will remember him as a father to his young son, who was a part of his motivation to constantly improve his performance and involvement with the military, as well as a loving son and brother,” said the funeral program.
Cirillo’s son Marcus attended a private visitation for his father on Sunday.
Read our live blog recap below:
With files from Global News reporter David Shum and The Canadian Press
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