While paying tribute to veterans, Canada’s first Indigenous commander-in-chief wears an air force uniform.
On Thursday, thousands of people set out to watch Gov. Gen.
Mary Simon attend her 1st Remembrance Day ceremony as commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces in Ottawa.
Simon arrived shortly after Prime Minister Trudeau at the National War Memorial and saluted military personnel and veterans. After placing a wreath at the memorial and hearing a 21-gun salute, Simon took her time thanking veterans and chatting with visitors. As a nod to tradition, Simon wore a Royal Canadian Air Force uniform at the ceremony.
As the Queen’s representative in Canada, Simon is also the commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces and thus can wear a uniform as part of her chain of command. Michaelle Jean and Julie Payette are two previous governors-general who have decided to wear a military uniform on Remembrance Day.
Simon’s husband, Whit Grant Fraser, wore a bowtie with the Royal Canadian Air Force tartan as another nod to the military. Simon also gave tribute to veterans of Canada’s war and their families in a message released to the media before the ceremony.
“On Remembrance Day, we remember Canadian veterans who fought for our freedom and values.” Who served far away from home, in peacekeeping missions and horrific wars. Who returned home, never the same, or never returned at all? “We remember their loved ones and families,” she said.
Simon, an Inuk leader who became the first Indigenous person to hold the vice-regal position earlier this year, noticed Indigenous veterans’ legacies. This year, the public was encouraged to attend the ceremony in person, though attendees must wear masks and follow public health precautions.
Crowds gathered in front of the war memorial in downtown Ottawa to see the procession of dignitaries and veterans. It was a severe contrast to last year’s subdued ceremonies, which were held virtually because of pandemic restrictions on public gatherings.
Source: nunatsiaq news