As I began the long drive back to Toronto from Port Lambton, Ontario (near Sarnia), my eyes watered and I uttered an angry lament, I wish I could have known him.
For a few hours, it felt as if I did know 21-year-old Private William Cushley. I sat with parents Errol and Elaine as they described their son and how he was killed near Kandahar, Afghanistan. The walls were covered in photos, medals and certificates. Elaine still writes to him. We talked about the Communion of Saints, which keeps William not too far away.
Though I grew up near CFB Petawawa, Ontario, I had never met a family devastated by war. But now when I read of another soldier killed in combat—just yesterday, Trooper Richard Renaud became Canada’s 77th casualty—I can put faces to the mother and father. Envisioning those faces, however insignificant this may seem, represents my small way of honouring the deceased.
It’s with solemnity that we present our interview with the Cushley’s this Thursday evening. Their story reveals a God who rebuilds hope even from violent loss.
Catholic Focus "At War" airs this Thursday evening at 7 and 11 PM ET, to repeat on Sunday evening at the same times.
-Photo courtesy DND