RCMP officers remembered as Moncton marks 1st anniversary of murders
Constables Douglas Larche, Dave Ross and Fabrice Gevaudan to be memorialized in statues
One year ago, people in Moncton, N.B., were asked to leave their porch lights on to aid the RCMP in their search for the killer of three Mounties.
A year later, they were asked to do so again, as the city paused to remember the officers who were murdered by Justin Bourque, and the 30-hour manhunt and lockdown that terrorized the city.
Thousands of people attended a special performance of the RCMP Musical Ride at Magnetic Hill. Many wore red to symbolize their support for the force.
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At a ceremony unveiling a monument to the slain officers Thursday afternoon, Mayor George LeBlanc asked Monctonians to turn on their porch lights once again Thursday night "as a symbol of remembrance and a symbol of moving forward."
"Only light can drive out darkness," said LeBlanc. "Only love can drive out hate."
"You've taught all of us what it means to take one step at a time," said Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown, the commanding officer for the RCMP in New Brunswick, referring to the women.
"We have to move forward for Dave, Doug, Fabrice and the families," he said.
Brown said he thinks back to June 4, 2014 "hundreds of times a day." His thoughts typically fall into three categories — heroics, loss or support.
"The loss of Dave, of Doug, of Fabrice," he said.
"A loss that will never be replaced. But it's a loss that we have to deal with and move forward," said Brown.
'Thank you for caring'
Brown said the community support received by the Mounties kept them all going.
"Thank you for looking after us when it was our job to look after you. Thank you for caring," he said.
The wives of the fallen officers thanked the community for its support.
"I would not have been able to get through this without you," said Rachael Ross. "The last year has been very challenging and there are still challenges ahead, but we keep putting one foot in front of the other and try to keep our focus on what we have to be thankful for."
Nadine Larche said she was grateful the memorial will be placed in the heart of Moncton.
"It's been a long road and we still have our struggles but words cannot express the gratitude I feel for the support we have received over this past year," said Larche. "We are healing and getting through this as a community and that means so much to me and my family.
"We draw on the strength of this community and those around us."
'It is the right path'
Angela Gevaudan called the year one of loss and sadness, but also "profound growth."
"Continuing to move forward with all the lessons we've learned has not been an easy path but it is the right path and this journey has been made easier by the love and support of the people who surround us."
The memorial chosen was designed by Newfoundland and Labrador artist Morgan MacDonald with statues of the three officers in a circle, facing outwards, with their back to a porch light. It will be placed in Riverfront Park on the bank of the Petitcodiac River in the city.
"My vision was to have the three men back-to-back, but also to have a central community light that made reference to the social media happenings that occurred during that time," said MacDonald in his proposal.
MacDonald said Thursday he wants his memorial to "be a beacon and a lasting reminder of reflection and celebration of their lives and service in the RCMP."
"It will also be reflective of the spirit and strength of the community, a testament that this place is undeterred and strong in its ideals."
MacDonald said the community-wide outpouring of gratitude for the RCMP is the most poignant part of the story for him.
"It is ever present, even today," he said. "I wish not only to create the likeness of these three men in bronze, but to create an outlet to express the deeply felt emotions coming from the community.
"I wish to show this not only on a local scale, but make it evident this is felt from coast-to-coast in the country."
Five short-listed artistic concepts for the monument were unveiled last month at a public presentation.
The ideas included a nine-metre-high obelisk, large silver maple leaves and different sculptures representing the three constables.