Friday, March 13, 2009

Trooper Marc Diab travels the Highway of Heroes

Yesterday afternoon I had an experience that I will not likely forget for a long time. I was leaving to drive east on the 401 expressway into Toronto to an appointment. As I approached the ramp leading onto the highway I noticed flashing lights, a mob of people and many waving Canadian flags on the eastern side of the bridge over the highway. At the bottom of the ramp were about 6 or 7 Royal Canadian Mounted Police in their splendid scarlet dress uniforms.

I realized right away that this was all in honour of the return of the body of Trooper Marc Diab, who died in Afghanistan last Sunday from a roadside bomb attack. He was the 112th soldier carried in such a miltary procession along this road and it has now been dubbed the Highway of Heroes.

I turned on my radio and heard traffic reports giving regular updates on the progress of the military convoy. I discovered I was perhaps a couple of kilometers ahead of it. As I drove east, every overpass was crowed with people who stood in very chilly weather to show respect for Trooper Diab. Among the flags draped over the railing was a home made one showing an evergreen tree bordered by the red stripes of the Canadian flag. It was supposed to represent the cedars of Lebanon. Trooper Diab is an immigrant from Lebanon who died serving Canada.

I had heard of this ritual but never before witnessed it. You cannot help but be moved by it.

I hope there are no more soldiers coming home this way, but if there are, I will be standing on the overpass at the bottom of my street with my neighbours.

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