As the casket of Master Cpl. Scott Vernelli was brought down the ramp by fellow soldiers, his wife Marcie Lane was so overcome that she had to pass her baby Olivia to a woman beside her.
After the casket was placed inside a hearse, Lane composed herself, walked up to the vehicle and offered a crisp military salute.
The coffin carrying Cpl. Tyler Crooks came down the ramp after Vernelli's, followed by the caskets of Trooper Jack Bouthillier and Trooper Corey Hayes.
Weeping from Crooks's family could be heard across the runway as his casket appeared, and family and friends of the two troopers exchanged tearful hugs when their coffins came down the ramp.
Gov. Gen Michaelle Jean and Defence Minister Peter MacKay were among the dignitaries standing alongside the soldiers' families on the tarmac.
The repatriation ceremony was also attended by about 300 supporters who gathered outside the base on a windy and chilly day.
"As long as I'm able to come here I'll keep coming," said Georgina McQuay of Belleville, Ont.
"When I hear the bagpipes, that does it for me. It causes me to shed a silent tear."
It was 15 minutes of quiet in downtown Toronto. Some 100 supporters stood at attention as the hearses carrying four Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan travelled down Grenville St. to the coroner's office.Among those waiting were retired Gen. Rick Hillier, former chief of defence staff, and Toronto police chief Bill Blair. "My heart was torn ... when I heard the news ...," Hillier told a Star reporter later. Earlier in the day, following the repatriation ceremony at CFB Trenton, the convoy made its way along Highway 401 where thousands of residents paid their respects, waving flags from highway overpasses.
♥ Trooper Jack Bouthillier's family in Hearst, Ont., said last week they truly believed the 20-year-old would return home safely from his mission. He is remembered as a joker who always had everyone laughing. His enthusiasm and his unswerving duty for work inspired other soldiers.
♥ Trooper Corey Hayes, 22, of Ripples, N.B., was remembered by family and friends as a "good kid." was a proud and dedicated soldier who always put his friends and family before himself. His friends remember him not only as a friend and a comrade-in-arms, but a brother who inspired them to stand up in the face of danger and do what was right.