The Legion will hoist the flag at the National War Memorial on Remembrance Day and then lower it
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OTTAWA – The Royal Canadian Legion has announced its intention to hoist the flag at the National War Memorial in Ottawa ahead of the Remembrance Day ceremony and then to lower it at half mast.
The Legion on Friday recommended that its branches across Canada do the same on November 11.
A Legion spokeswoman said it is up to each branch to decide whether to follow their advice and whether to keep the flag at half mast after Remembrance Day.
The flag has been flying at half mast in federal buildings since the end of May. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for it to be lowered after Tk’emlups te Secwepemc announced that ground penetrating radar had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children in unmarked graves on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Canadian Heritage says the flags of government buildings and the Peace Tower remain lowered in memory of Indigenous children who died in residential schools, as well as survivors and their families.
The ministry said on Friday that the national flag would remain at half mast in federal buildings and establishments before Remembrance Day instead of hoisting it to be lowered again.
The discovery of anonymous graves in residential schools, including 751 anonymous graves found by the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan, caused waves of shock and grief across the country.
The government usually determines whether the flag at the National War Memorial flies at half mast, but on Remembrance Day the Legion determines what happens there. He is in charge of the annual ceremony marking the sacrifice of Canadians for their country, which includes the laying of wreaths.
“There is a Canadian flag and a British Union flag at the National War Memorial. On November 11, the Legion controls the site and the two flags and will follow Legion protocol. This means that the flags will be fully raised before the ceremony and half-masted during the ceremony, ”said Nujma Bond, spokesperson for the Legion.
Lowering the flag at half mast at the National War Memorial and other federal sites is the traditional way of recognizing the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers for their country. The ceremony is celebrated at 11 a.m. on November 11 – the time and date of the WWI armistice.
The Royal Canadian Legion recommended that Legion branches across the country hoist the flag before the Remembrance Day ceremony so that it can be lowered in tribute, but said the final decision was up to them.
“If the branches and / or commands determine that they will follow the recommendation of national headquarters, then after Remembrance Day they may choose to lower their flags again – this will be an individual command and branch decision,” he said. Bond said.
After November 11, it is up to the government to decide again whether the flag remains lowered at the Ottawa Memorial.
Canadian Heritage posts notices whenever the flag is half-masted and the current one says it will remain so until “further notice”.
He says the decision to raise the flag rests with Trudeau.
The Prime Minister said he plans to keep it lowered until Indigenous peoples want to see Canada’s flag fly completely.
Friday, during an official visit in the Netherlands, Trudeau visited a cemetery where Canadian soldiers are buried. During World War II, more than 7,500 Canadian soldiers were killed as part of the Allied efforts to liberate the Netherlands from the Nazis.
Trudeau, who wore a poppy on his lapel, told a press conference in the Netherlands that Canada “forged a deep and lasting bond of friendship with the Netherlands” during World War II.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 29, 2021.
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