First Sikh soldier to guard Tomb of Unknown Soldier

Ottawa, Aug 28 (IANS) In a first, a Sikh soldier has been appointed to watch over the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” at the National War Memorial here in Canada, a media report said.

The tomb refers to a monument in dedication to the services of an unknown soldier and to the common memories of all soldiers killed in any war.

Taj Aujla is one of the four Canadian soldiers of the 39th Brigade Group, Royal Westminster Regiment, who are currently in Ottawa for three weeks to guard the tomb, Ottawacitizen.com news portal reported.

“The basis of Sikhism is service to your country and your community. Being here is a big honour because I am representing the way of life of a Sikh. But it goes back to the tomb, that is why we’re here,” Aujla was quoted as saying.

“This gentleman — the unknown soldier — whoever he is, was serving. He made the ultimate sacrifice, for our freedom, for our country for us. To be a part of this is exactly what I practise on a day-to-day basis. What he did was very human,” Aujla said.

Aujla joined the reserves of the Canadian forces four years ago.

When he came to know about the opportunity to join the ceremonial guard, he researched on the tomb and decided to offer his services.

“If people had loved ones who did not make it home from World War I or World War II, this tomb is the place where they can come to pay their respects. To be able to stand guard here is a privilege,” said Aujla.

“When I joined the forces and was sworn in, my unit welcomed me as a Sikh and said welcome to the family. There’s a lot of a brotherhood here,” he added.

Aujla’s great-grandfather served in a Sikh regiment in India as did his great-uncle, the report said.

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