Monday, June 18, 2012

Royal Canadian Mounted Police ~ Memorial Ceremony ~ Kamloops, BC

Fifty years ago today, I was sitting in a Grade 9 classroom at Kamloops High School and I remember the announcement that said we would remain inside the school due to a shooting.  The impact of hearing that was one I have remembered well, especially after hearing the whole story, one very few would forget. Three RCMP were killed that day by a troubled man for reasons unknown. 

the Pipe Band leads the RCMP parade down Battle Street in Kamloops.
RCMP Memorial Parade

Today, those three young RCMP Cst. Joseph Keck, Cst.Gordon Pedersen and Cst.Donald Weisgerber were remembered by RCMP troops from across the country and the people of Kamloops who gathered to honor their memory and the families that were left behind.

the RCMP continues down the street dressed in formal wear
RCMP in red serge uniforms
The ceremony began with the parade of the RCMP in their formal red serge as well as other units represented being led by the Pipe Band as they marched from St. Paul and 6th Avenue around the block to arrive in front of the RCMP detachment office where the service would be held. 
Officers exchange salutes as the others stand at attention
The RCMP officers perform formalities of the parade
 The sight, although solemn in nature was impressive to see in the formal dress of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as they marched around the block, leading the families of the slain officers riding in the vintage cars following behind.
RCMP line the red carpet with the MC at the podium
Staff Sergeant Grant Learned at the podium
The families of these young men were well represented today and that is also a testament to the kind of men they were as individuals, not only as RCMP as they protected the people of Kamloops on that day 50 years ago. Staff Sergeant Grant Learned was the MC for the service and the rows of these RCMP officers lined the red carpet walk that the families used to enter and leave the service.
RCMP and guests sit under the tents and listen to the mayor's address
Mayor Peter Milobar at the podium
 There were dignitaries there to represent the city of Kamloops and Mayor Peter Milobar spoke for them.  Hymns were sung and prayers were said.  Bagpipes offer a special feeling to songs played for these occasions and seem to add to the emotion of such events.  
The Last Post is played while the crowd listens
The Last Post is played
The Last Post was played on the bugle, reminding us of the nature of the occasion as it is played to commemorate those who have been killed in the line of duty, as the flag flies at half mast.  
The monument with names of fallen RCMP is called the Wall of Honour
The Wall of Honour
 Wreaths and roses were placed on the Wall of Honor by family members and a minute of silence was respected and then Reveille was played by Lisa Landry on the bugle. The Wall of Honour sits in front of the Kamloops detachment and also includes names of four others that were killed in the line of duty. 
The RCMP parade leaves the ceremony while the families watch
The RCMP depart
As the families lined the right side of the street, we all watched the Royal Canadian Mounted Police march past them, and when the command was given for “eyes right” it was with a lump in my throat that I watched these young men pay their respect to the families of those we were there to remember.  

Thank-you to all RCMP who risk their lives every day in order to protect us.  Thank-you also to their families who support their duties, we pray all will remain safe.

2 comments:

  1. I too remember that day.....Thanks Sheila.

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