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Canadian Forces members go viral after photo captures country’s multiculturalism
HALIFAX -- Corporal Abdulla Lardhi and Master Corporal, Jeremy Hawksworth are friends and comrades in the Canadian Forces. On Wednesday, the pair and two of their friends went out for lunch – unbeknownst to what was about to happen.
"We walked in, we got a round of applause,” says Lardhi. “When we sat down, after a little while, a family started walking up to us asking for photos and thanking us for our service – It was really heartwarming – I was grateful for it."
However, the gratitude didn't stop there. One woman at the restaurant was so moved by the four servicemen from different cultural backgrounds sitting at the same table; she took to social media – sharing a photo she took of them – including a message of peace and unity.
With its heartwarming message, it didn't take long for the post to go viral – which caught the men a bit off guard as they’ve been having breakfast and lunch together for years.
"I've been watching it sort of grow over the last 24 hours, and it's just been insane,” says Hawksworth. “Every now and again, you’ll have your picture taken – definitely wasn't expecting it at all.”
Also pictured at the table alongside Hawksworth and Lardhi are Master Corporals Sam Kakembo from Uganda, and Andy Tan from China. Lardhi, whose parents are from Yemen and Palestine, says the image is a true representation of the Canadian Forces, adding he's happy to be a part of it.
"I moved here as an immigrant, and it gave me the opportunity to move forward in life; help myself get through school, university,” says Lardhi. “It's also helped me make friends throughout Canada. It's definitely changed my perspective on life in total – I'm very grateful to be a Canadian."
Lardhi notes the amount of diversity in the forces has grown immensely since he joined 16 years ago – and he hopes the viral image inspires others to join.
"Canadians all across Canada can unite no matter where you're from, what colour you are, no matter where your family is from…” says Lardhi. “What's that saying? A picture is worth a thousand words."