Hero's homecoming for Canadian killed fighting ISIS
Josh Dehaas, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, November 20, 2015 9:55AM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 20, 2015 6:42PM EST
The mother of a Canadian soldier who died fighting ISIS alongside Kurdish forces in Syria said she was overwhelmed by the show of support for her son on Friday, as his body was repatriated to southwestern Ontario.
Valerie Carder said she was surprised by how many people had shown up to honour her son John Gallagher as a convoy brought his body from a funeral home in Toronto to Blenheim, Ont., not far from where he grew up.
“We’re very, very touched and we want to thank everyone very much,” Carder said.
“It’s such an honour for my son, and I hope that it can do some good in terms of bringing awareness to the situation that he went to try and help.”
Gallagher was killed Nov. 5, either by a suicide bomber or at close range.
Among those who had gathered to pay their respects were many Kurdish-Canadians.
Sinam Mohamad, a diplomatic representative of the Kurdish autonomous region in Syria, also flew to Canada to show her support.
“It’s our honour now to be here and to share with his family and his mother,” she said.
“I would like to offer my condolences on behalf of our autonomous region to all the Canadian people and to his family and the Canadian government,” Mohamad added.
“We are facing the same enemy,” she said.
Gallagher had served in Bosnia under the Canadian Armed Forces, but left the military in 2005. He joined the People's Defence Units YPG earlier this year, despite the known dangers.
In an essay entitled ‘Why the War in Kurdistan Matters,’ Gallagher wrote that ISIS has “got the numbers and the weapons to win this war, so to go stand on the other side of the battlefield is objectively insane.”
However, he added, “the Kurdish people … are under threat from a genocidal foe.”
Gallagher’s casket was transported with a Toronto Police escort along a stretch of Highway 401 known as the “Highway of Heroes,” and it arrived shortly before 5 p.m.
Hundreds of people gathered on overpasses as waiting for the convoy to go under, while waving Canadian flags and holding up signs in honour of Gallagher.
With a report from CTV Kitchener