Cpl. Nathan Hornburg was an idealist. He became a soldier to help the world become a better place. He didn’t see glory in war, but saw it as a necessary tool.

“The world community wants this to be a place where there is no war and everyone shares equal rights. But its inaction and lack of resolve adds fuel to the terrorists’ fires and is counterproduc-tive to the world’s healing process. Of course we know that war is terrible. War involves death, and death involves pain, both for the deceased and the deceased’s acquaintances,” he wrote in “Rambling of an Idealist.”

Nathan was born on Father’s Day, June 19, 1983. He was a happy, positive child who enjoyed his life in Calgary. He is described as a good friend who put others before himself. His loving family offered him opportunities to explore the world around him. Nathan was cherished and is much missed.

While he enjoyed the advantages city life offered, he savoured the countryside of Alberta as well. He spent a great deal of time on his extended family’s ranch at Nanton and it became his second home. He “saw a natural rhythm in the world” wherever he was and was as comfortable in a rural setting as he was in an urban setting.

Nathan was the first person in his family to serve in the armed forces. He enlisted as a reservist in the King’s Own Calgary Regiment while he was still in high school, and then went on to receive an Arts and Sciences certificate from Mount Royal College. He was employed as a landscaper until his service in Afghanistan.

At age 23 he felt compelled to volunteer to serve in Afghanistan. His decision was made with much thought and deliberation. Nathan was aware of the risks and he understood the dangers. He was prepared for the possibility of his own death. He loved “his life and had no regrets,” but was convinced that he needed to help others, although the cost might be dear. He felt that all people should enjoy freedom and saw the war as a way to help defend those who don’t have a voice, and possibly help gain for them, the freedom we take for granted.

Nathan trained for nine months on the Leopard Armoured Recovery Vehicle and celebrated his 24th birthday during training. Nathan was the first reservist to operate a main battle tank in ac-tion since the Korean War. He approached this duty as he did all endeavours: with surety and determination.

Nathan was loyal, steadfast, measured, generous, determined, and an optimist tempered by reali-ty. There is a skate park in Nanton named in Nathan’s honour.

By: Shawna Conrad-Turner

Portrait by Shairl Honey