Soldier’s family requests photo be removed from Wall of Honour

MANITOULIN—The recent attacks on Canadian service personnel in Ottawa and Quebec has led to a mixed bag of security responses across the country as the military responds to an unfamiliar threat to members of the military on Canadian soil.

The ripples of that heightened concern reached all the way to Manitoulin Island as one family member of a serving Canadian serviceperson requested that the photograph of their child currently serving be taken down from the wall of honour at Turners of Little Current and the Old Mill Heritage Site in Kagawong.

Debby Turner of Turners of Little Current confirmed that she had received such a request and that the store had immediately complied. “Apparently the troops were to remove photos of themselves if they are on any types of social media,” said Ms. Turner, of what she was told by the parent. “We took it down with much sadness and regret.”

Ms. Turner said that she was told that the service personnel had held a meeting and agreed that photos of the service people in uniform posted in public places be temporarily removed.

“We did have a request to remove a photograph and we, of course, reluctantly complied,” said Old Mill Heritage Centre curator Rick Nelson.

Reports of base lockdowns across the nation were somewhat overblown, although the lockdown response to the attacks on the soldiers was in fact confirmed by the chief of defence.

“On my order, the Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command has issued direction for bases across Canada to increase local Force Protection measures as appropriate. In the National Capital Region, this resulted in the lock-down of all Canadian Armed Forces facilities,” wrote General Tom Lawson, chief of defence in a missive to all personnel and the Canadian public. “While this lock-down has since been lifted, beginning on October 23, 2014 members in the NCR have been instructed to not wear their uniforms when travelling to and from their places of work. This is to be a temporary measure. The intent will be to resume wearing uniforms when transiting to and from our place of duty as soon as practicable. This order was not given lightly. As Canadian Armed Forces members, we wear our uniforms with pride and we will continue to do so. However, with the recent attack in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, in which we lost Warrant Officer Vincent, and with the shooting in Ottawa today, this is viewed as an appropriate and measured response.”

The chief of defence went on to say “I have further instructed the CJOC Commander to develop and issue updated Force Protection instructions CAF-wide to include restricting access to DND bases and facilities. Additional information on this will be forthcoming. These orders build on other measures that have been implemented in recent days to increase security. In the days to come we will continue to monitor this space, and may take further action. The safety and security of our members, our families, and our civilian partners depend on this diligence. I am proud of the work that you do, of the operational excellence that you demonstrate in service to our country, and of all that we are able to accomplish together. You, and your families, should be proud too.”

When soldiers in Britain received a similar command in the wake of terrorist attacks on uniformed service people in that country, soldiers in that country responded with a barrage of social media postings that eventually led to the command being rescinded. There have been media reports from across Canada indicating that many of this nation’s soldiers are also opting to continue life as usual as they serve their country across the nation.

Many cadet programs across the nation were also curtailed in the wake of the shooting and automobile assault on uniformed soldiers. Rear Admiral Jennifer Bennett sent out a message noting that all military cadet and junior ranger activities were to cease until October 27. The precautions were described as “taking control, using common sense and acting responsibly.”

With the nation preparing to recognize the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of Canadian Armed Services personnel with Remembrance Week, the ceremonies surrounding Remembrance Day on November 11 will likely hold a new resonance those attending those events as the new paradigm of a war without borders or boundaries becomes more than just a concept in the media.