Sunday Series/Family Life: We are Canadian #OttawaStrong

Oct 26, 2014


This past week was a dark one in Canadian History. The deaths of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent have reverberated across the country and shocked us all. This is not the country we know. Parliament Hill is a safe place, a tourist destination. Gun violence is something that happens other places, not here. It's not part of Canadian culture to own guns, or even think about them. Yes the police, military and recreational hunters own them but if you asked the average person where you could buy a gun they'd look at you with a blank stare. These murders are difficult to comprehend and have affected us all. 

 The morning of October 22 I was at work as usual and had just come back from break when I saw everyone in our office huddled around a colleague's desk streaming a local radio station looking scared. Our manager said we were now on lockdown because there had been a shooting at the war memorial (which is a few hundred meters from our front doors) and shooting within Parliament. We listened to the radio and were told there were possibly more shooters at large. Looking out the window we saw chaos. Busses driving bumper to bumper being re-routed out of downtown. Police everywhere. Sirens. The sound of never ending sirens.
 
Then there were no people at all. Just police and SWAT teams running though the streets. We were made to get back from the windows in case there was more shooting. We were all glued to the radio and frightened because we heard reports of more shots being fired at the Rideau Centre and behind Parliament (which ended up being false), that the Rideau Centre was being evacuated and more and more buildings were being locked down. We had absolutely no clue what was actually going on.
 
At one point none of us (despite having different cell phone carriers) were getting service. We didn't know if we were safe or in danger and we were hearing a lot more details on the local radio station than what was being put out on the global news.
 
Around noon we got word that we were to evacuate the building and some people were arguing with the manager about wanting to leave. Myself and a few coworkers wanted to stay - outside did not look secure or safe at all. We didn't really have a choice and we headed downstairs to evacuate the building.

We were suppose to have a police escort apparently but when we got outside nothing. More chaos. We kept being herded towards a "safe zone" by police at taped off intersections. We went by a wall of cameras and media which was strangely degrading. Then a huge SWAT team came running around the corner screaming at people to go left and get down, knocking over some of my coworkers as they ran by. We were all cowering on the side of the street and a coworkers shielded me with her body. At that point I lost it and started to cry, I was afraid of getting caught in the middle of some sort of shoot out, wishing we had never left the building. We finally got away and made it out of the downtown core where a coworkers husband picked us up and drove a bunch of us home.
 
Once I got home I just hugged little Tavi and Jay, so grateful to be away from it all. The morning didn't feel real to me, I think I was in shock. I couldn't sleep at all that night from all the adrenaline coursing through my veins.
 
I went back to work on Friday and it was different. I don't think Ottawa will ever be the same. I used to look at Parliament everyday on my way to work and think how lucky I was to live somewhere so safe and now that has changed. That afternoon my office went to the ceremony at the National War Memorial re-introducing the Sentries and I was proud to see all the people who came to show their support.

The senseless violence that took the life of two unarmed men and the fact that a gunman was able to enter into Parliament has definitely had an impact on our country. As a nation we are collectively mourning the deaths of these two men but also, I think, the deaths of so many others who have fallen victim to senseless acts of violence.
 

15 thoughts:

  1. I was really sad to hear this on the news. I can't imagine what it would have been like to experience this. I am glad you are safe.
    xo
    www.laurajaneatelier.com

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  2. Oh god, this sounds shocking, so glad you are well! It's a horror story that these kind of things do happen!

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  3. I was so sad to hear the news on TV! :( It must've been extremely scary for you, even more so because you're pregnant. I'm glad your co-worker shielded you, she sounds so brave. I definitely wouldn't have wanted to leave that building! I'm glad we don't have a gun culture here either, my thoughts are with the families of the victims.

    Tara x

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  4. It was unreal! so scary and sad, I'm glad you and your family are safe.

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  5. This was so shocking to hear and I think everyone across the nation felt the fear and sadness that day and beyond. This sounds like absolute madness. It seems crazy to force people out into an open street when a shooter (or shooters as they thought at the time) could be anywhere!? I would have been just as upset as you were being forced outside when clearly a locked office away from windows was definitely the safest place. I am so glad you and your co-workers were able to get to safety.

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  6. So, so sad for those families.

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  7. I work downtown as well, but was not at work on that day. That is crazy to hear your perspective. Glad you were able to get home safely that day.

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  8. Oh my goodness, I'm sorry you had to be a part of that! How scary for you. Hearing this all on the news, my prayers are with everyone involved.

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  9. I'm so glad you and your family are safe and so sorry for this difficult and scary time. You are in my thoughts.

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  10. The world is a terrible place and in some ways it's just getting worse. Be strong.

    /Avy

    http://mymotherfuckedmickjagger.blogspot.com

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  11. This past week has been surreal, this entire ordeal has been awful for all of those immediately affected and Canadians in general. I have never been more proud to be Canadian. Glad you are safe and were able to go home and hug Tavi

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  12. Hearing that news recently was so surreal to me. They have us all on high alert in America, but you'd never think that would happen in Canada. Thoughts and prayers to you all!

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  13. My heart goes out to you guys. I couldn't even believe it when I saw that on TV. This was so sad and so uncalled for. Thinking of you, your family and all of Canada.

    By the way, hope that baby #2 is here and keeping you really busy or at least ready to make an appearance.

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  14. there is so much violence going on around the world and it's truly terrifying. beautifully touching photo hun! xx. gigi. www.gigikkitchen.com

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  15. I'm so sorry this happened, I'm glad that you are alright-- physically, at least.

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