Candlelight vigil for military suicides postponed

Candlelight vigil for military suicides postponed
The Friends of Vets held a candlelight vigil at the Cornwall Cenotaph in tribute to the recent PTSD-linked deaths in the Canadian military.

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – Friends of Vets in Cornwall has postponed a candlelight vigil for military suicides Wednesday night at the request of the Cornwall Community Police Service.

The peer support group announced that the event was cancelled after Parliament Hill came under attack Wednesday.

Much like the rest of Canada, Gary Samler, president of Friends of Vets, was shocked when reports flooded in that a man shot and killed a soldier at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa.

At the request of the police, out of respect for the fallen soldier, and for the safety and security of everyone, I decided it best to postpone,” he said.

The event was scheduled to take place at the Cornwall Cenotaph on Second Street West.

A rain date was scheduled for Thursday, but it has also been cancelled.

The candlight vigil is set to be rescheduled after the next Friends of Vets meeting on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Cornwall Wesleyan Church.

“Tomorrow is still too soon after what happened,” said Samler. “When one of our brothers dies, especially in the line of duty, we all share the pain and loss for another brave hero.”

The vigil was announced shortly after Cpl. Ron Francis, a 21-year RCMP veteran in New Brunswick who was on medical leave, committed suicide on Oct. 6. He was 43. The death is being attributed to PTSD.

Although some military personnel have been warned not to wear their uniforms in public, Cornwall police have no concerns of the attack on Parliament Hill spreading to the city.

“In discussions with the organizers, it was decided that out of respect with what took place in Ottawa, they exercise caution and schedule the event for another date,” said Cornwall police Const. Daniel Cloutier.

As shots were fired at Parliament Hill Wednesday, city cops conducted a mock exercise on Cornwall Centre Road from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. To ensure there wasn’t any confusion between the tragic event and the exercise, an announcement was made on

Cloutier said the event wasn’t cancelled because it was already well underway as Ottawa’s downtown core was under lockdown.

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