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QUARTERLY Article – Vigil 23 May overview

Each year, the RCMP Veterans’ Association, Ottawa Division, holds a commemorative event which include a vigil at the cenotaph, an historical walking tour, an historical recognition project and a wreath-laying ceremony on the anniversary of the RCMP, May 23rd, preparing for the 150th anniversary of the Force in 2023.  All Veterans and employees of the RCMP are represented (regular members, civilian members and public service employees).

It is a ceremony to remember those of the RCMP who have passed, and particularly fallen members, and to also recognize the support of families.  It is a moving ceremony.  The recent loss of 22 victims in Nova Scotia, including our colleague Constable Heidi Stevenson, the coronavirus disease, the recent Canadian Armed Forces tragedies made this year even more so.  The ceremony is held at the RCMP National Memorial Cemetery at Beechwood in Ottawa. 

A rose was laid on the stone engraved with the ‘’H’’ Division ensign at the foot of the cenotaph in honour of Constable Heidi Stevenson, Regimental # 45161  

As a result of the current situation with the COVID-19 health crisis, we had to modify the planning for this year’s ceremony. In keeping with the directives of Ottawa Public Health, the ceremony was not an open public event.  Instead, a small group of veteran volunteers conducted reveille and held a brief vigil before the laying of flowers and wreaths. 

Due to the limited participation, we could not have a videographer and our usual Veteran photographers. All was done by a small group of participants with their personal cameras and cell phones. The event was recorded and posted on the Beechwood Cemetery Facebook to give all Veterans and their families the opportunity to participate virtually. The video was made with the cell phone of the Director of Marketing, Communications and Outreach at Beechwood Cemetery. When there is a will, there is a way!!   You can view the video of the ceremony, the speaking notes of the ceremony, the video of the virtual historical tour and its accompanying brochure, a special insert in our publication, the Spirit, and a photo gallery. 

We remember.