Just a few days before he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper made their surprise March trip to visit Canadian troops in Afghanistan, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor tried to calm growing anxiety about the combat role Canada appeared to be taking on in Kandahar.
Their widows wept. A bagpiper played an old, sad song. The faces of comrades were ashen. Memorial services for fallen soldiers are, of course, painfully unique to the families and friends of the dead; but what they offer the nation is familiar ritual, perhaps a feeling of closure.
Nichola Goddard, MSM, soldier (born 2 May 1980 in Madang, Papua New Guinea; died 17 May 2006 in Afghanistan). Captain Nichola Goddard was the first female Canadian soldier to die in combat. Her death shocked the nation and was widely covered by Canadian news media. Although many Canadians believed that military combat was a job for men, Goddard’s story revealed the commitment, service and sacrifice of women in the Canadian