Canadian Legion in Kamloops, B.C., honours Snowbird crash victim with memorial ceremony
Thousands tuned in to watch ceremony online
Thousands of people tuned in online Thursday to pay tribute to the victims of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds crash that killed one person and seriously injured another in Kamloops, B.C., on Sunday.
The jet crashed shortly after takeoff and burst into flames in the front yard of a house. It was heading for Comox, B.C., as part of the aerobatic flying team's Operation Inspiration tour across Canada.
Capt. Jennifer Casey and Capt. Richard MacDougall were ejected from the plane. Casey died, and MacDougall, 34, remains in hospital with serious injuries. He is expected to recover.
A limited number of mostly first responders and Canadian Forces members attended the ceremony in person, hosted by the Kamloops branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
"The Royal Canadian Legion was founded by veterans almost 100 years ago and the mission statement of the Legion is to support and assist veterans," Craig Thomson, vice-president of the B.C.-Yukon Legion told CBC's Jenifer Norwell.
"What better support can we do for a fallen veteran than to have a tribute."
The event included the singing of O Canada, the laying of wreaths and The Last Post was played on the trumpet.
Daniel Martin, president of the local branch, said though the event was emotional for him on a personal level, it was important both for service members and for the people of Kamloops.
"The Snowbirds mission was to put a smile on the face of Canadians and the tragedy that happened this past weekend put everything in perspective," Martin said.
"Being a veteran and to lay [a wreath] to remember her and to remember basically everybody that serves our country and give their life was extremely emotional but it meant a lot to us, to the Legion and to all of us here today."
Though the event was not open to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing rules, Kamloops residents continued to visit the memorial site set up along the fence at the airport to pay their respects.
Gisele Machin and her husband Andy said they would have been to the ceremony if they had been allowed to attend, but visiting the memorial was their way of saying thank you to Casey and the Snowbirds for their service.
"Their cause is why they were in this area in the first place and just trying to boost everybody's morale and spirit and then something so tragic like this takes them away is, it's horrific," Machin said.
With files from Jenifer Norwell