Members of Calgary’s Kurdish community gathered in the Devonian Gardens at Sunday afternoon to pay tribute to John Gallagher, a former Canadian soldier who lost his life while fighting the forces of ISIS aas a member of the Kurdish military in Syria.
“It was a huge honour for the Kurds,” said Ali Wassi, a Kurdish-Calgarian. “There is a saying among the Kurds that the Kurds does not have any friends but just mountain but John was actually an honour, a true Kurdish friend who went over and sacrificed his life for peace and security.”
Gallagher, who lived in Calgary, was killed during an ISIS attack on November 4, 2015. He was 32 years old.
 John’s sister Lily was touched by Sunday’s tribute.
“It’s nice that people who never met him, people who felt he should be recognized, are here today and remembering him,” said Lily Gallagher.
Lily Gallagher says she grieves for her brother but does not regret his decision to serve another army. Lily says her John spoke pf joining the Kurds for several months prior to his decision.
“He had a copy of the Qur'an he was reading at night,” recalls Lily. “When it was just us hanging out, he would tell us about the world and how someone needs to do something, things weren’t okay.”
Gatherers at the ceremony believe John Gallagher will never receive the recognition he deserves because, unlike his fallen comrades, he did not die while serving the Canadian military.
Prior to joining the Kurdish military in April of 2015, Gallagher served Canada’s Patricia Light Infantry.