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In Memory of a Fallen Soldier: Pte. William Jonathan James Cushley

November 11th, 2006

William J. Cushley arrived in Afghanistan in August 2006 as a member of 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment. He was 21 years old, had a girlfriend, Karine Rousselle, a member of the forces herself, and RCR tattooed proudly on his back. On September 3rd, 2006, Sunday of the Labour day weekend, William was killed by Taliban fighters during Operation Medusa, a major offensive in the town of Panjwayi, 30 km west of Kandahar city. Four Canadian Soldiers, including William, lost their lives that day, and a reported over 200 Taliban fighters.

William has been on my mind since the Toronto wear red rally and I came into close contact with his father, Errol Cushley:

I watched Mr. Cushley closely after that. I kept thinking that, while I agree with the mission, agree that Canadians belong in Afghanistan, I knew that if given the deal, the Faustian bargain, my son for the mission, I would say no: Let the damn Taliban have the place, let them have this one too. I’ll give Canada over to the Muslims, rather than pay that price. But Errol Cushley paid the price, and here he stood barely three weeks later, supporting the troops, supporting the mission even.

William was born in Port Lambton, Ontario, and is buried there. He is survived by his father, mother and three sisters – not to mention his girlfriend Karine.

On this Remembrance Day, instead of doing the usual foot shuffle, I used the two minutes of silence to offer a prayer for William Cushley and his family. I told my children about William, or at least tried to but couldn’t do so without becoming verklempt. For me, this year, Remembrance Day became personal.

There is a guest book where you can pay your respects to William Cushley. There is currently 142 entries – lets make it more!


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