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article imageOp-Ed: Brave best friend of soldier killed in Ottawa attack back on duty

By Marcus Hondro     Nov 4, 2014 in World
It's a sure thing Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the soldier gunned down at the Canadian National War Memorial Oct. 22, would be proud of his best friend. That man was the man standing guarding with him that day and Monday Cpl. Branden Stevenson returned to work.
Cpl. Stevenson, 24, went back to work his post as a ceremonial sentry at the Memorial, with another guard from the Argyll and Sutherland reserve unit from Hamilton. It was an incredibly tough week after having witnessed his friend shot up close, with no warning, in one of the most cowardly attacks upon a soldier in Canadian history.
A terrible moment he'll never forget.
"Nathan Cirillo was my friend, my best friend, my brother. I will miss him forever," Cpl. Stevenson said in a statement released through the National Defence. His statement referred to how Cpl. Cirillo was teasing him about a sagging sock just moments before Michael Zehaf Bibeau walked up to him and shot him in the chest.
"What happened shortly after left me in shock and grieving the loss of my best friend," his statement said. "My heart goes out to his family for the terrible loss they have to endure. I am still struggling to cope with everything that has happened."
Cpl. Stevenson and Cpl. Cirillo had known one another since grade 9, meeting at Hamilton's Sherwood High School. ""From that time on, we were pretty much inseparable," he said. He added that it was Cpl. Cirillo who joined the army first and said his friend's love of the army "inspired me to join."
As the shooter ran off, to soonafter be shot dead in the Parliament buildings, Cpl. Stevenson rushed to his friend's aid and did what he could before the paramedics arrived. He was unable to fire on the assailant as the guards are not given bullets in their rifles.
Cpl. Stevenson's duty today may have been the hardest things he's ever had to do and something that his entire country is proud of him for doing.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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