Thursday, October 22, 2015

One Year Later, Ottawa Remembers

Exactly one year ago today, a terrible event took place in Ottawa that shook us all. A young father, and a Canadian soldier, was shot and killed while he stood sentry at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Ottawa's War Memorial.

As I mentioned last year, through darkness, comes light, and as Canadians (and decent humans) we came together in amazing ways—we went back to work the next day, we left flowers and letters of love at the War Memorial, and we wore red, while saluting our fallen soldier on the Highway of Heroes. We mourned the loss of this young man, because of all he represented; life, youth, a Canadian, a soldier, a father, a son, a friend.

My mom, artist Katerina Mertikas, created a painting that day, because she was so sad and overcome with emotion.  She had no idea this painting—the original which now hangs in our Mayor's boardroom—would cause such a buzz and would be so well-received.


With the help of Koyman Galleries and The Ottawa Citizen, prints were made and started selling quickly. All proceeds from the print went directly to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo's son.

Over $50,000.00 was raised, and prints continue to sell today, one year later. You can order your print here

My mom and I had the pleasure of meeting with Nathan's mom last year, when she came to Ottawa. Over tea at Chateau Laurier, we talked about her son, and she told us what a wonderful person he was. She was moved to tears when she was given the print, and a few days later, she sent my mom and email showing her grandson smiling with the print hanging proudly in his bedroom. It's amazing how art can touch people so deeply, and it's amazing to see how many people give back with love.

This painting was an outlet for an artist's emotions, but it became a symbol of something much larger than art—it was something special that touched thousands of people across the city and country, and my mom was overwhelmed with the positive response.

Just last week, the book We Stand On Guard, a book my mom illustrated, was launched at City Hall, with our Mayor Jim Watson offering his kind praise once again for my mom and her art. 

The author of the book was deeply moved about the event that took place in October, 2014, and decided to write this book that deal with loss, and how people come together to learn how to heal. The book will hopefully help people move forward from tragedy.



It's something special to see how giving people can be in times of darkness and tragedy. We should always remember that there is always good out there, especially today.

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