With sincere sympathy-Military Mom
Under picture-perfect blue skies at this eastern Ontario military base, members of Priede's grieving family stood huddled together alongside members of Canada's military brass, including Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Rick Hillier and Minister of National Defence Gordon O'Connor.
The 30-year-old military photographer, who was based at CFB Gagetown, N.B., died last Wednesday when the helicopter he was flying was shot down in the volatile Helmand province in Afghanistan. He was photographing coalition forces trying to wrest control of a strategic valley from insurgents to pave the way for reconstruction.
As the eight pallbearers loaded the casket, Priede's wife Angela, who was standing nearby surrounded by family and friends, wiped away tears. Holding a red rose, she was the first to approach to say her final goodbye to her husband, who had been in Afghanistan for less than six weeks.
She leaned into the hearse for more than five minutes, leaning on her husband's coffin and crying inconsolably as her family circled around her, patting her on the back and embracing her.
Priede's mother, Roxanne, wiped away tears as she tightly embraced Angela and took her turn to say her goodbye.
Earlier this week, she said her son had volunteered to go to Afghanistan and was eager to document images of Canada's mission there. She also said he had believed he had one of the safest jobs in the country.
This was the second time Priede had been out photographing a combat mission.
On a number of military websites and blogs, those who knew Priede left messages for his family on Monday and remembered the soldier who was known among his colleagues for his photography and his desire to be among the soldiers.
Priede was born in Burlington, Ont., and raised in British Columbia.
He died along with five Americans and a Briton when the CH-47 Chinook they were flying in was apparently shot down west of Kandahar.
Priede was doing his job as a photographer for the Reginal Command South, which oversees multinational efforts in each of the five southern Afghan provinces.
He was killed during Operation Lastay Kulang, part of the offensive against the Taliban.
Honouring our Fallen Soldier
The procession of vehicles bearing Master Corporal Priede departed CFB Trenton around 5:15 p.m., passing through Cobourg just before 6 p.m. A Cobourg Fire Department truck and an estimated 35-45 people, many waving Canadian flags, were on the Cobourg bridge. As the gathering waited, there was a constant salute of horns, flashing lights and waves from vehicles passing below the bridge. In Northumberland County, people stand vigil on bridges spanning Highway 401 to honour the fallen military personnel and their families.
Further West on Hwy 401..
Police, fire, and ambulance crews paid tribute to fallen Canadian soldier Master Cpl. Darrell Priede yesterday by lining up on highway overpasses along Hwy. 401 and the Don Valley Parkway as his body was escorted by motorcade from CFB Trenton into the city yesterday to the coroner's office on Grosvenor St.
"We appreciate our people in uniform in Afghanistan and other places -- we appreciate the sacrifice they make and whenever possible we try to pay tribute to them whenever we can," said Toronto Police Sgt. Brian Bowman, who led the Toronto contingent of the motorcade.
Durham emergency crews also turned out as the motorcade passed through that region.
OPP vehicles lead the motorcade until Whites Rd. in Pickering when Toronto police took over, Bowman said.
"We're just typical Canadians trying to pay tribute in whatever way we can," Bowman said.
To leave a message or sign the memorial guest book for Master Cpl Priede, click here:
Sergeant Jason Mcdonald, with the Force Protection Company out of Camp Nathan Smith (CNS), provides forward security while climbing a hill to a new guard tower point during a visit to Afghan National Police (ANP) Substation 7 in Kandahar City.
Photo by: MCpl Darrell Priede (God bless you)