They Stood on Guard for Thee

Honouring security services members who served on October 22, 2014

It has been said that Ottawa came to a standstill on October 22, 2014, the day a gunman shot and killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial and attacked Canada’s Parliament. But as then-governor general David Johnston pointed out at a special ceremony held at Rideau Hall on February 8, 2016, to honour security services members who stood guard for Canada that day, not everyone came to a standstill.

“In fact, you did just the opposite,” he said to the 14 service members who were recognized at the ceremony. “You ran towards the danger, and you helped people in need. Your actions that day were exemplary. You reminded us that with our rights and freedoms, come responsibilities. Responsibilities toward each other and to the country we have built together.”

 Among them, six service members received Stars of Courage from Mr. Johnston at the ceremony, while eight received Medals of Bravery. A four-pointed silver star with a maple leaf in each of the four angles, the Star of Courage recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril, while the Medal of Bravery—a circular silver medal featuring a maple leaf surrounded by a wreath of laurel—recognizes acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances. Both decorations form part of the Canadian Honours System.

At the ceremony, friends, family and loved ones heard how, with extraordinary courage and resolve, members of the House of Commons protection services and the RCMP stopped the armed man who had stormed the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings. Their collective actions brought the incident to an end in less than three minutes, averting further tragedy.

 While an emotional, difficult ceremony for many in attendance, the special presentation was an opportunity for Mr. Johnston to offer thanks, on behalf of all Canadians, to those who risked their lives for Canada on that terrible day. It also provided an opportunity for those involved to come together, to reflect and to continue to heal.

Nominate Someone

Every day, Canadian men and women are risking their lives to try to save or protect another. Does a particular act of bravery from your community stand out? Consider nominating someone for a Decoration for Bravery.