Share this article

print logo


More than 100,000 Canadians gathered Saturday in somber silence on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and overflowed the gates of the U.S. consulate in Toronto with cards of sorrow to honor the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

And all over the country, they stood in malls, gas stations, schools, legislatures and the streets for three minutes of silence before singing "The Star Spangled Banner" and waving American flags.

"As friends, as neighbors, as family," Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said, "Canadians are here to say, 'You are not alone. We are with you.' "

Speaking to the massive crowd that arched around the Parliament and spilled onto the street, Chretien, quoting Martin Luther King Jr., said, "In the end, it is not the words of your enemies that you remember, it is the silence of your friends."

Then, turning to U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci, Chretien added, "Mr. Ambassador, there will be no silence from Canada."

Cellucci thanked Canadians for the graciousness shown the 25,000 U.S. air passengers who were stranded in Canada for days after the terrorist attack and for the "overwhelming support and sympathy" of Canadians.

"You truly are our closest friend," he said.

Joel de Gonia, a 23-year-old native of St. Louis, was one of the thousands to assemble on Parliament Hill for Canada's official day of mourning.

"My proudest moment as an American came on the steps of your Parliament," he told the Toronto Star. "This is what you would feel like if you were standing in the middle of my hometown."

Besides holding memorials, donating blood and providing police and cleanup crews and a software package to match victims' DNA, Canadians also were wearing American flags.

A poster of the U.S. flag and the slogan, "God Bless America," included in the Toronto Sun, was taped onto store windows and police cruisers all over Toronto.

"They just want a flag. Any size, any quality. (But) we're completely sold out," said Daphne Warner of Toronto's All-Nations Flag Co.

"On Thursday, we had an order from a U.S. wholesaler for 2 million flags," added Jane Cocking, marketing manager for Flags Unlimited in Barrie, Ont., the largest flag-maker in Canada.

Normally the company produces 5,000 U.S. flags a year, but now they are turning out 500 an hour, 24 hours a day.

Buffalo native Lynne Seawright, who has been living in Toronto for the past three years, was so desperate for an American flag that she drew one on her T-shirt.

She also tried to donate blood for the victims. "But I couldn't, because it was so crowded with Canadians who were donating," she said.

There are no comments - be the first to comment