Memorial to victims of Air India bombing inaugurated in Lachine
Published Sunday, December 5, 2010 7:38PM EST
Canadian Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Multi-Culturalism Jason Kenney was in Lachine on Sunday for the inauguration of a fourth memorial to the victims of the Air India bombing, which remains the worst terrorist attack in this country's history 25 years after it happened.
About 50 people were on Monk Island for the ceremony, and several of them lost family members June 23, 1985, when Air India flight 182 exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland.
The pain of that moment has not been dulled in the least for Pramila Sahu, whose husband, daughter and son were among the 329 people who died that sad day a quarter of a century ago.
"My whole family," she told CTV Montreal's Cindy Sherwin on Sunday, "my life is finished."
Still, the knowledge that the dark day is being recognized not only here, but at similar memorials in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa provides a small measure of solace for Sahu.
"It gives us peace at least they are going to remember," she said.
Mary Sebastian travelled from Ottawa to attend the ceremony with her mother, whose sister, husband and two young daughters were killed.
"When you stop and think about it you go back to that moment when you heard the news," she said. "It doesn't change. It's been a long 25 years but it doesn't go away."
Kenney's message to the people in attendance on a cold, blustery day at the Lachine canal was that the Canadian government is doing everything it can to properly recognize the wrong that was committed.
"One of the many ways in which insult has been added to injury and the hurt of the families of the victims was through the government's early failure to recognize that the majority of the victims were Canadians," Kenney said.
Indeed, 280 of the 329 victims were Canadian, and a scathing report released last June by former Supreme Court justice John Major concluded that the terrorist attack could have been prevented if not for blatant lapses in security and the ensuing government investigation was botched.
This week the government will announce its Air India Action Plan.
"This is a comprehensive response," Kenney said. "Finally the government of Canada has realized the ball was dropped 25 years ago."
For Sebastian, however, that is not her primary need to help the healing process along.
"We still don't have a definitive answer," Sebastian said. "That's the biggest thing, somebody to be held culpable, responsible for it."