Nova Scotians will come together Monday and Tuesday to mark the second anniversary of the province’s mass shooting in moments of quiet reflection for the 22 victims and all those affected by the tragedy.
April 18 and 19 mark two years since a gunman, at times dressed as a police officer, killed neighbours and strangers in a span of 13 hours as he drove across the province.
Premier Tim Houston has said this will be the last year these days won’t have an official designation. The province will formally establish April 18 and 19 as days of remembrance with legislation to be introduced later this year.
“It’s important that government recognize and send the message to people that we are Nova Scotia strong, we are together. Not just this year, but all years going forward in the future,” Houston told reporters at Province House last Thursday.
“I think it’s just important that we never lose sight of what happened.”
Before introducing that legislation, Houston said the government will consult with the families of the victims to ensure their loved ones are properly remembered.
For Alana Hirtle of the Rotary Club of Truro, the news brings “mixed emotions.”
Hirtle chairs the Truro club’s Rotary Cares Committee, and the Portapique community building project involving the area’s new playground and future hall.
While she said the massacre should never be forgotten, it will also never be easy to mark for anyone involved.
Flags across N.S. to be lowered for 2 days
“I think that perhaps it could be difficult for some to have it every year as a reminder,” Hirtle said Thursday.
“But, for others, I expect it will provide some solace. And knowing that they won’t be forgotten, that they’ll never be forgotten, is important.”
The flags at Province House, and all provincial government buildings and institutions, will be lowered to half-mast from sunrise on Monday until sundown on Tuesday.
Nova Scotians are encouraged to lower their own flags, and pause at noon on both days to observe a moment of silence.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement on Monday to observe the anniversary.
“I join the people of Nova Scotia and all Canadians to remember those who lost their lives. Our thoughts are with all those who continue to live with the pain, trauma, and heartbreaking loss from these events,” he said.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I invite all Canadians to remember each of those who lost their lives and stand with all those affected by this attack. To all Nova Scotians, you are in our thoughts and you have our unwavering support. We draw inspiration from your strength and resilience.”