CALGARY - Funeral services for the latest Canadian killed in Afghanistan, Cpl. Michael Starker took place yesterday in Calgary.
Cpl. Starker, 36, was killed May 6 when his foot patrol was ambushed in the Zhari district of Kandahar province.
A military escort brought his casket to the Roundup Centre, a large auditorium on the Calgary Stampede grounds. As the ceremony began, a choir sang from a stage decorated with bouquets of white flowers and a procession of soldiers carried Cpl. Starker's coffin, draped in white, past hundreds of onlookers.
Soldiers saluted the slain medic's remains as they passed by, while others in the crowd wiped away tears.
As a priest presided over the Catholic service, Cpl. Starker's wife, Nicole, sat listening, surrounded by family members.
Wearing a black dress, the widow occasionally smiled or let out a brief laugh as the priest -- who witnessed her marriage to the reservist in 1997 -- recalled the time the soldier was first brought home to meet her family.
"Michael was a good guy ... he was a person of love, and he would want us to recognize that the things he did were because of his desire to love," the priest said. "Michael enjoyed the opportunity to share and to make our world a better place."
Cpl. Starker, who worked for Calgary EMS and was a member of the now-disbanded Canadian Airborne Regiment, was serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
A total of 83 Canadian soldiers have died during the Afghanistan mission.
© The Ottawa Citizen 2008