This is a tribute to honor a Canadian hero, Nichola Goddard
I would like to pay her tribute, because she is a member of my husband's family - a cousin, in fact. In my eyes, it seems only fitting and right that on a day when we're honoring the birth of Queen Victoria (even though she died in 1901), we should also honor the life of a young woman who gave her life fighting for what she believed in.
Nichola Goddard (1980 ~ 2006)
Nichola was the 17th soldier to die in Afghanistan, and the first female soldier to die in combat since World War II. Just 26 years old, she'd been serving with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, and she was also a member of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Shilo, Manitoba.
According to news sources, Nichola's role in Afghanistan was that of a "forward observer." She helped target artillery by watching where the shells fell. That may not seem like a dangerous job to some, but in actuality, it's incredibly dangerous - as has been proven...
Nichola took pleasure in what she called "small victories." Whether those victories meant successfully hauling a gun up what seemed like an impassable mountain in the Rockies, finally getting shower stalls, or talking with the local people and encouraging genuine dialogue with them, Nichola took pride in these "small victories" and worked hard to foster and encourage the efforts towards peace and discussion among the Afghan people she was in contact with. She certainly did our country proud.
Nichola's leadership is well-documented by now, but many of you might not know that she was also what many will call an "angel of mercy."
Even though they were in the middle combat, Nichola always made the Afghan children smile by giving them treats and toys her church parish and her family had sent her. And then, she would write a note to the people who'd sent things to her to let them know what she'd done with those gifts. Nichola didn't have children of her own, so she showered love and gifts on the Afghan children she encountered, and if that isn't doing the work of an angel in a war zone, I don't know what is.
Nichola will be remembered for her dedication, her leadership, and her patriotism by her family, friends, and brothers-in-arms. Those of us who never had the chance to know her can honor her by carrying on her mission in whatever ways we are able, to show her that her sacrifices were not in vain...
Have a wonderful day, everyone, and remember: It is not what we give that shows the measure of ourselves as human beings. Rather, it is how we give - whether with true altruism and a genuine spirit of love, or with a desire to be recognized for our generosity - that matters.