MONTREAL — The mother of a Quebec man killed fighting Russian forces in Ukraine last month said at a memorial service Friday that her son’s “courage and big heart” made him a hero.
Marie-France Silois said at a service in Montreal that her son, Emile Antoine Roy-Silois, and three other foreign volunteers were killed in a bombing in Ukraine’s Donbass region on July 18. .
“They supported each other to the end, shared the same beliefs, and died heroes,” Silova told a crowd gathered at Montreal’s Ukrainian Assumption Parish.
“The willingness to protect women and children and condemn injustice was part of my son’s DNA. I’m not the first to say it.”
Sirois described her 31-year-old son as a kind, funny, and generous person who felt an “irresistible call” to join the forces fighting in Ukraine. He was described as a kind of “Knight of Philosophy” with chivalrous values reminiscent of
“Emile wanted to make a difference, so I think he succeeded,” she said.
“He’s a hero with his courage and big heart, but what gives me the most comfort is knowing that he acted according to the height of his convictions and was happy to the end.”
On the table in front of the church lay a silver urn and a military helmet named “Emile”. Two framed portraits of him sat on a table flanked by bright yellow sunflowers.
Silova received a standing ovation from the crowd gathered in the pews, many wearing traditional Ukrainian clothing or carrying Quebec, Canadian or Ukrainian flags.
Eugene Czolij, Ukrainian Honorary Consul in Montreal, told the audience that Roy-Sirois died a hero after trying to save an injured colleague.
“Know that heroes like my son Emile Antoine never die because their memory will live forever.”
In an interview, he said the service was organized so that Roy-Sirois’ family could feel the gratitude of Ukrainians living in Montreal.
Choriji said his organization helped repatriate the fighter’s remains from Ukraine in time for service.
Arsenii Pivtorak, 19, said before the service that he did not know Roy-Sirois but wanted to thank him for defending Ukraine. Pivtruk said he wanted to go to the fight with his cousins and other family members but he couldn’t because of his work and studies.
“The least I can do is come here to see foreigners who have no connection to Ukraine sacrifice their lives for my people and my freedom,” he said outside the church. I said.
Michael Sueek, head of the Quebec branch of the Ukrainian-Canadian parliament, said Roy Silova will go down in history as a “hero of Ukraine”.
“There is a Ukrainian proverb that a hero never dies,” he said. “So his name, his legacy will go down in history.”
Sweek said it was important for Canada to continue to help Ukraine as the war moved from sprints to marathons, but individual volunteers weren’t always the best way to go.
“Ukraine does not want foreign soldiers,” he said. “What they want is weapons, and that’s what we continue to want from the government.”
Czolij said he knew other Canadians were fighting in Ukraine, but didn’t know how many had joined the country’s forces against Russia.
Quebec mother murdered in Ukraine says son was a hero
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