Trooper Mark Wilson of the Royal Canadian Dragoons (October 7, 2006)
1,000 gather for soldier's funeral
Oct. 16, 2006. 05:50 PM
LONDON, Ont. — The 40th Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan since 2002 was remembered today for his passion for the Canadian Forces and how he had embraced his profession. Pete Sanford, the godfather of Trooper Mark Wilson, tried to help family and friends come to grips with their loss, telling those gathered at the funeral for the fallen soldier that it was time to celebrate Wilson's life. "We all have our special moments that we have shared with Mark which we will always cherish," said Sanford.
Sanford also spoke of Wilson's love for the Canadian Forces, which he joined four years ago. "Training and exercises for some were trials of endurance, but for Mark, they were the personification of his passions."About 1,000 people packed a military funeral for Wilson at Mary Immaculate Church in the southwestern Ontario city of London, where a few hundred more gathered outside to listen to the service on speakers. Among the overflow crowd was a group of about 100 school children carrying paper Canadian flags and several veterans.
Wilson, 39, was killed in a roadside bomb attack over the Thanksgiving long weekend about 25 kilometres west of Kandahar. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Dragoons based in Petawawa, Ontario. Wilson leaves behind his wife, Dawn, and two sons, Joshua and Benjamin. Many London, Ont., homes and businesses have put up yellow ribbons to show their support for the Wilson family and for all Canadian soldiers serving overseas.