(Reuters) – Thousands of mourners packed a church and lined adjacent streets in industrial Hamilton, Ontario, on Tuesday for the funeral of the soldier shot dead in last week’s attack on the nation’s seat of government.
Corporal Nathan Cirillo, 24, was one of two soldiers killed in a pair of attacks last week that police said were carried out independently by radical recent converts to Islam. The assaults took place as Canada’s military was stepping up its involvement in air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told mourners at the church that Cirillo had inspired and united Canadians. He choked back tears in a rare public display of emotion when addressing Cirillo’s five-year-old son.
“May time ease the searing pain of today. And may his son, young Marcus Daniel Cirillo, some day find comfort in the fact that our entire country looks up to his dad with pride, with gratitude with deep abiding respect,” Harper said.
Major the Reverend Canon Rob Fead opened the ceremony calling Cirillo “Canada’s son”. Cirillo’s cousin, Jenny Holland, and Lieutenant-Colonel Lawrence Hatfield, who had been his commanding officer, also spoke.