It must be a bittersweet moment for the family of Ronald Manning and his "second" homecoming.
The family, Toronto-based and reared, lost the 21-year-old Navy corpsman in the final stages of the Vietnam War after he was killed in 1975 during an attempt to rescue the crew of the SS Mayaguez, a merchant ship hijacked by Khmer Rouge naval forces in the Gulf of Thailand.
Manning's fate at the time was unknown, and he officially was listed as missing in action until remains were identified by the Navy in 2000. His remains were returned to the Gem City to a hero's welcome at the time and buried in the Toronto Union Cemetery. Ron Manning was the son of Donna and James Manning Sr. of Toronto.
Advancements in DNA technology enabled the Navy to positively identify more of Ron Manning's remains, and they were recently returned to Toronto - again to a hero's welcome.
While we offer our sympathies to the family and its graciousness for allowing the city to mourn long with them, we also realize it must be difficult for the family to grieve once again.
We can only say that Toronto was kind, gracious and honoring of Ronald Manning's service and life as only Toronto can be.
Those who have served in the military are heroes to the citizens of Toronto, and no community pulls out all the stops to honor its own like the Gem City. The city also has a special place in its heart for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice guarding and fighting for the nation.
War is a difficult and messy business, as well as an often painful event, not only for those who serve but for the families back home.
We know the Manning family is hurting right now, but we also know that Toronto is there for them to offer comfort and support. We only hope the Manning family can take some solace in the way the city residents have treated the memory of their fallen native son.
It's the Toronto way.