God Bless you Cpl Gonthier - "Chimo"
"It is important to remember he did not die a victim but as a success in the profession he chose,'' said Padre Capt. Claude Pigeon.
The 21-year-old was killed Wednesday by a roadside bomb in the volatile Panjwaii district.
Padre Pierre Bergeron called on Gonthier's friends and family to stay strong despite the tragedy.
Many of those standing along the fence didn't even know the name of the soldier whose return had prompted them to gather, but all said they were there for the same reason: to show support and to show compassion for Gonthier's family.
"I've always wanted to come to one to show my respect," said Diane Langabeer of Picton, Ont.
"I want to show respect not only for the soldier but to the families that have lost their son or daughter."
Langabeer placed a small Canadian flag on the chain-link fence separating her from the repatriation ceremony. The flag, she explained, belonged to a friend's father who was a war veteran.
'HE DIED FOR HIS COUNTRY'
"The 150 people in attendance hopefully shows the family that Canadians do care and feel empathy when a soldier returns home in the same fashion as Gonthier," Langabeer said. "It's like they haven't died in vain."
Lise Belanger, a Trenton resident whose husband is in the military, was also attending a repatriation for the first time.
She said she too wanted the family to know their loss is recognized by others and their sorrow is understood.
"He died for his country, for liberty and peace," Belanger said.