Babies. These are babies. End this stupidity.
More than 100 family members of three young soldiers killed in Afghanistan gathered at CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario on Saturday evening as their bodies arrived back on Canadian soil.
Pte. Chad Horn, 21, Cpl. Andrew Grenon, 23 and Cpl. Mike Seggie, 21, were killed in an ambush on Wednesday while conducting a security patrol in the volatile Zhari district.
Five other soldiers were wounded in the attack.
Family members and dignitaries lined the tarmac as the flag-draped caskets were lowered from a military plane.
The families took turns placing individual roses — some red, some yellow like the “Support Our Troops” ribbons that adorn many cars in town — on the caskets carrying the remains of their sons and brothers.
Grenon’s large family was first and some broke down crying, looking as though they might have collapsed to the ground if not for the both physical and emotional support provided by the rest of the family. Young children, visibly stricken by grief, clutched teddy bears and were comforted by others.
The families were joined on the tarmac by dignitaries including Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean, Defence Minister Peter MacKay, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk and former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, Colonel in Chief of the soldiers’ regiment, the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
In an unusual scene for a repatriation ceremony, troops returning from Afghanistan shared the plane with their bodies and participated in the event before flying on to their home bases.
The 108 soldiers, based in Edmonton and Shilo, Man., stood in tribute to Seggie, Horn and Grenon for the ceremony, then were welcomed home by MacKay and Jean, after serving about seven or eight months in Afghanistan.
A crowd of about another 100 people, awash in red and holding Canadian flags, lined the outside of the base fence to watch the ceremony and show their support.
The deaths of the three soldiers, who were based in Shilo, Man., brings to 96 the number of Canadian soldiers killed during the Afghanistan mission since 2002. A Canadian diplomat also died.