Monday, 15 November 2010

Ranger Aaron McCormick

Today was a day I'll not forget after the tragic news came through that the British soldier killed yesterday in Afghanistan was from the village of Macosquin where I went to primary school and lived for the first 10 years of my life.

22-year-old Ranger Aaron McCormick, of 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment, was helping to clear roadside bombs in the Nad-e Ali area of Helmand when he was caught in an explosion.

His Commanding Officer, Lt Col Colin Weir, described Aaron as "the epitome of the Irish infantry soldier - tough, selfless, good-humoured and full of compassion."

He said his death had left a gap in his ranks "no ordinary man could fill," adding, "this place is already better for Aaron having been here. We will now build on his good work with renewed determination to win." 

I can only imagine the shock amongst the people of Macosquin, many of whom I still see regularly when I travel home.

But I can certainly imagine the pride they will be feeling at the service Aaron gave to his country. 

The local Church of Ireland rector, Rev Mike Roemmele, said he had visited Aaron's family and found them understandably devastated at the news.

And it was Mike's voice, on Radio Ulster earlier today, which had the deepest impact on me.

Mike was the minister who baptised Jamie in St Mary's Church, Macosquin last year.  

I will always have an attachment to Macosquin and, thanks to Mike's generosity, so too will Jamie.

My heart goes out to Ranger McCormick's family and friends.

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