Just a few days before he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper made their surprise March trip to visit Canadian troops in Afghanistan, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor tried to calm growing anxiety about the combat role Canada appeared to be taking on in Kandahar.
Their widows wept. A bagpiper played an old, sad song. The faces of comrades were ashen. Memorial services for fallen soldiers are, of course, painfully unique to the families and friends of the dead; but what they offer the nation is familiar ritual, perhaps a feeling of closure.