“Mom what happened at that big building in Ottawa today? Is Sharon safe?”
These are the words that Marcus (6) asked me tonight as he was going to bed. He was, of course, referring to the shootings in Ottawa today at Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial. I had to answer him, but what do you tell a 6 year old? How do you explain a senseless tragedy when you can’t comprehend it yourself?
I told him there was a big memorial statue in Ottawa and there were soldiers that stood guard at it all the time to remember all the soldiers who have died for us. They stood guard out of respect to keep the memory of all the other soldiers alive for us. Today a bad guy with a gun came and shot one of the soldiers who were standing guard. When the bad guy went running away all kinds of police chased him and before he had the chance to hurt anyone else, he was shot by the police and he died too.
“Why did a bad guy want to hurt a soldier?”
I told him I didn’t know why. People always have a choice; they can do what is right or they can do what is wrong. What this bad guy did was wrong. Why he chose to do something wrong, I don’t know. When people do things that are wrong, they are punished, and he was punished.
“He was punished because he shot the soldier and then the police shot him so he couldn’t shoot anybody else?”
“And Sharon?” (Our friend who lives outside of Ottawa)
She is safe. She was at work today and is fine. I explained to him that a lot of people, grown ups and kids, had to be put in lock down today at their places of work and at schools.
“Just like we had a lock down drill yesterday at school?”
Exactly. You were shown yesterday what to do in an emergency and all those people in Ottawa were shown what to do, too. They are all safe because they were in lock down and did what they were told.
“Who was the soldier that died?”
His name is Nathan. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. He’s 24. He loved dogs and he had a little boy.
Yes, it is very sad. This soldier wanted to protect his country and did a great job keeping us all safe. Soldiers know there might be a time that they could get hurt, but because they love their job and their country they don’t think about that, they just think abut keeping us all safe.
“Just like Dad and Matthew and all the firefighters? They could get hurt at a fire but they are still firefighters.”
“I hope no more bad guys hurt any soldiers.”
Me too, bud, me too.
Until next time…