Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trooper Marc Diab

Trooper Marc Diab was remembered Tuesday as a cherished son, friend and mentor who in his brief 22 years touched many lives and gave his own in the name of peace.

Hundreds of mourners packed a church in west-end Toronto to remember the fallen soldier, who was killed March 8 in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb.

Diab's father paid tribute to his selfless son in an emotional eulogy. "Marc, you once told me, 'I will make you proud of me,"' Hani Diab said. "Well, you really did it, son."

Marc Diab was born in Lebanon, and his family moved in 2000 to Canada, where Hani Diab said his son was proud to serve his adopted country.

"You paid the ultimate price - your life - for the cause that you believed in: to have a better world for everyone," the soldier's father said.

"I hope the price that you and your many comrades have paid will be enough and that we will see a peaceful world flourishing from Afghanistan to Canada."

Diab had been planning to propose to his girlfriend Mary Barakat when he returned to Canada. The priest at Tuesday's service said the 21-year-old woman was too distraught to deliver a eulogy for the man she had hoped to spend her life with.

Friends remembered Diab as someone who was always striving to make them laugh, from singing loudly in the streets to impersonating the character Borat.

Diab led a summer camp through his church, Our Lady of Lebanon. During the service and through messages in the funeral program, the teens he mentored remembered a young man who made a lasting impression on their lives.

Military personnel and police officers were on hand to salute Diab's casket as it arrived at the church.

Diab's mother Jihan Diab has said her son dreamed of a military career from the time he was a boy in war-torn Lebanon and wanted to bring peace to the world.

Diab was the 112th Canadian soldier to die as part of the Afghan mission since 2002. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Dragoons based at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa in Ontario near the Quebec border.

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