Whitehorse paid tribute to the RCMP with a church parade Sunday as part of the 125th anniversary of the famed force.
The parade, which went from Steele Street to the Christ Church Cathedral, created a sea of red from the territory’s M division.
An officer inspection was carried out by RCMP Commissioner Phillip Murray, deputy commissioner Larry Proke and other dignitaries.
Following the inspection, a memorial service was held in honor of the 15 members of the Royal North West Mounted Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who were killed on duty in the force’s 103-year history in the Yukon.
Church windows were dedicated in their honor.
Rev. Desmond Carroll spoke at the service.
Carroll asked the audience to recognize that while the RCMP are often symbolized though the service and deeds of famous officers,
“Let us not forget all those generations of Royal Canadian Mounted Police who, year by year, served in a variety of places, carried out the routine, detailed work which is the heartbeat of any police organization.”
Carroll then touched on the difficult life an RCMP officer is forced to lead.
“The life of an officer is not an easy one, and perhaps, we the public ought to be more aware of the pressure that you face day by day. Some might say it comes with the turf, but my times in the ride-along program was a real eye opener.”
Carroll described how shocked he was at how the officers were treated, while joining the officers one time to watch them in action.
“I was appalled by the sheer hostility and rudeness,” he said.
But the difficulties faced extend to each officer’s family, Carroll noted.
“In those northern reaches, the position of an RCMP family is different, for you simply do what has to be done - sometimes caught in circumstances not detailed in the manuals and procedural books.”
With the unveiling of the windows, Carroll concluded, “When we dedicated these windows....we did so to the Glory of God. The danger with that ‘religious phrase’ is that it could be understood as consigning the memory of some religious warehouse.”
“But the real purpose is to call up and into being, the contributions that those remembered, have made in their lives, so we too can live by the good deeds they did.”
By Sean McHutchion
The Whitehorse Star, July 27, 1998