Belfast Telegraph

Why Channing Day was so special

By Gail Walker

She was only 25. An age when she should have been going shopping, having fun nights out, enjoying life. And then, listening to her heartbroken family and friends, you realise that Channing Day was doing all of that. She just happened to be in the Army, too.

Sometimes there's a preconception about women who join the Forces. That they're somehow different; less feminine... whatever that means today. But that's just our own prejudice because most of us can't understand why anyone - man or woman - signs up for a job that could cost them everything, including their life.

From the comfort of our warm offices - who's doing the coffee run? Just nipping to H-amp;M to cheer myself up - we can't imagine why anyone would want to decamp to Afghanistan and to the privations of Army life.

We don't have the courage, mental strength and selflessness. We'd miss our loved ones. We'd get sunstroke. Sure, there are times we'd like to be part of something bigger, to make a difference, but, well, Strictly's coming on.

In truth, we're not up to it. But if anyone embodied what the Army is really about - its spirit, what it takes to be a fine soldier - Channing Day did. She never wanted to be anything else.

Serving as a medic, the young Comber woman was there not to take life, but to save it. If a comrade went down injured, she'd run into the line of fire to offer aid. Imagine what it must feel like to be lying wounded, then see someone coming to help you, no matter what Hell is all around. You are not alone.

And when you think of how Channing was also a typical young woman, what she did for a living is even more astonishing. Though bereft, her family must take comfort from her remarkable, lauded attributes; that she was doing the one thing she always wanted to do.

Channing Day was one of us, which is why, across the divide, her loss is keenly felt.

But in her exemplary bravery and kindness, she was not one of us at all, which is also why her loss is keenly felt.


From Belfast Telegraph