Mayor's Address re National Day of Mourning - April 28, 2020

Mayor Rachel Bailey addresses residents on the occasion of the National Day of Mourning today.

The YouTube link is here: VIDEO

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A transcript of the Mayor's address is below.


Good Afternoon and thank you to everyone joining us for this special observance of the National Day of Morning here in the Town of Lunenburg.

As Mayor, on behalf of the Town, I have hosted a brief ceremony annually to recognize the National Day of Mourning since I took office 8 years ago and it was an established tradition at that time. 

It was in 1991 that legislation was passed by the Parliament of Canada establishing a National Day of Mourning to remember and honour lives lost and people seriously injured due to a workplace tragedy, and also to collectively renew our commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace and to prevent further injuries, illnesses and deaths.

On April 28th of every year since, the Canadian flag is flown at half-mast on Parliament Hill and on government buildings and employers and workers are to take time to remember and reflect.

But this year, 2020, this year, is like no other. This year, as our health care systems in this Province, and in this country and around the globe battle an invisible killer known as COVID-19, every citizen is being asked to play a role in protecting each other.  Everyone’s workplace and our living spaces are made safe ONLY by the precautions we all take and the care we all give.  This year unlike any other we have known, we need to not only remember and reflect BUT we need to ACT.  In the midst of a pandemic we must all be mindful that, if we are careless and if we fail to follow the directives public health care officials give us, the lives of others are at stake The fact that we all connected is clear and we all have to act responsibly to free each other from the necessary confines of our current state of emergency.

Weeks ago, we knew it was important to observe this day, as we always had, and with added special emphasis on the enhanced role every citizen must play to ensure the safety of everyone else in our community. We are fortunate, in this day and age to have technology, like the platforms we are using now, at our disposal. And so this livestream broadcast was planned.

AND then, while trying to stay strong and united in our fight against this virus, a silent killer, a cruel and unnatural human killer rocked our world. Beautiful, peaceful Nova Scotia was viciously assaulted. While already dealing with the challenging circumstances of a Pandemic, the unimaginable happened. Loved ones were stolen from us.  Lives, both fresh and seasoned, all filled with potential; lives of good people contributing to their communities and our shared home were brutally snuffed out.  With this assault on our mutual core taking place just over a week ago our grief is still raw and so very real.  We all have to reach deep to find the strength to support one another, to remember that we are stronger together AND to have faith that love ultimately always wins.

So, on this National Day of Mourning we remember and honour our real-life heroes.

During this Pandemic, we honour workers on the frontlines keeping those of us who are healthy fed, informed, and sustained. I want to thank in particular our staff, the employees of the Town of Lunenburg to whom this annual address is traditionally directed. Like other essential workers dealing with these extraordinary circumstances, you have forged on, figured out how to use technology that was unfamiliar, adapted to new safety procedures, maintained physically distancing, sported masks and gloves. In this difficult time, you have maintained our utilities and infrastructure and served the people of this community with dedication while taking all these extra precautions to ensure your own safety, the safety of your colleagues and the safety of the public. Thank you for keeping us going.

I also want to especially thank those who are caring for the elderly and infirm and ALL our health care providers and first responders, including our own Lunenburg & District Fire Department who risk their own safety to protect ours today and every day.

And a special heartfelt thank you to members of the RCMP, those serving in the Town of Lunenburg and across this Province who have so recently felt first-hand the gut-wrenching impact of losing a colleague. Please accept our gratitude.

Today, on this National Day of Mourning we pray for those who are sick, and those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, from COVID-19 AND for those who lost loved ones during the incredibly tragic event that spanned three Counties, Colchester, Cumberland and Hants of our beautiful Province just days ago.

And, today on this National Day of Mourning in 2020 with deep sorrow and solidarity of spirit we remember and honour the 22 beautiful souls cruelly taken from us on April 18th & 19th 2020:

  • RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson
  • Lisa McCully
  • Sean McLeod & Alanna Jenkins
  • Emily Tuck, Jolene Oliver and Aaron Tuck
  • Jamie & Greg Blair
  • Corrie Ellison
  • Gina Goulet
  • Tom Bagley
  • Kristen Beaton
  • Joey Webber
  • Elizabeth Thomas & John Zahl
  • Lillian Campbell Hyslop
  • Dawn Madsen & Frank Gulenchyn
  • Heather O’Brien
  • Joy & Peter Bond

Please join me in a moment of silence in their honour. [PAUSE]

I want to acknowledge the presence of our MLA, Suzanne Lohnes-Croft who has joined us for this virtual recognition ceremony.  I know that she shares the sentiments of appreciation and sympathy being expressed.  I also want to share the regrets of our MP Minister Bernadette Jordan, who is participating in the first virtual meeting of Parliament today and so is unable to be here.

In closing, I urge you all to be strong and to resolve to put care and respect for others above all else, in honour of those lost to us.Remember that brighter days will return and we will be wiser and stronger when they do.

Stay Well and Be Safe.    

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