We are all Humboldt.
Across Canada and beyond the physical borders of a nation in mourning, people of all walks of life have felt connected to that phrase in recent days. They’ve come together through small gestures of solidarity to offer a warm embrace to the people of a small prairie town they may never have heard of until tragedy struck on April 6.
As news spread of the horrific collision between a transport truck and a team bus carrying the young men of the Humboldt Broncos Junior hockey team and their coaching staff, waves of shock and sorrow swept the nation. Deep down inside, Canadians, and indeed people from all across the globe, felt that the 16 souls that were taken in that fated instant and the countless lives that were forever shattered could easily have been their own.
The people of Humboldt are neighbours and friends to all, and in their grief the nation resides. This is why on April 12, people of all ages across Canada and throughout the world donned sports jerseys as a symbol of solidarity with those who are suffering at the heart of this tragedy.
“There is nothing greater than love thy neighbour as thyself,” says Richard Desmairis, a resident of The Village at St. Clair who was among countless others across Schlegel Villages to wear his jersey. Nobody should have to endure such loss, he says.
The sadness of losing so many young people draws everyone a little closer together, his fellow resident Kim Nye adds. “It could happen to anyone anywhere, so by showing solidarity, we are supporting the team and their families,” she says.
People want so badly to offer whatever support they can. It’s what neighbours and friends do when tragedy strikes and if wearing a jersey, leaving a hockey stick upon the front porch or donating a bit of money meets that inherent need, then that’s what people will do.
It’s humbling to see the outpouring of support spread from village to village and community to community throughout Canada and the world. From the flag at half-mast outside St. Clair or the fundraising lunch Tansley Woods presented, each village is offering a share of solidarity, for in the aftermath of this tragedy, we are all Humboldt, Saskatchewan.