Cornwall runs new tribute policy up the flagpole

Cornwall, Ont., lowers its flags to half-mast so often that the custom is beginning to lose meaning, city officials fear.

Currently, flags lowered to half-mast to mark death of any city employee, elected official

Under a proposal going to Cornwall city council, flags would be lowered for one week to honour all municipal employees and elected officials who died that year. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Cornwall, Ont., could soon be lowering its flags far less often.

Under its current policy, the eastern Ontario city lowers its flags to half-mast whenever a city employee or elected official — current or former — dies. The flags stay lowered until the day of that person's funeral.

We thought we'd try and find a way to be more thoughtful in remembering and paying tribute.- Maureen Adams, Cornwall's chief administrative officer

The recent death of a Cornwall Transit bus operator, for example, prompted the lowering of flags in the city from Jan. 28 to Feb. 9.

The city's chief administrative officer, Maureen Adams, told CBC Radio's Ontario Morning Cornwall's flags are at half-mast so often that the custom is beginning to lose its meaning with residents.

"We thought we'd try and find a way to be more thoughtful in remembering and paying tribute," she said.

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Under a proposal going to city council, flags would instead be lowered for one week each year to honour all city workers and elected officials who have died. The city would also share information about those people and their contributions, Adams said.

"It might be more meaningful for people to remember and understand all the great employees we've had."

Adams said the city hasn't yet asked residents for feedback on the idea. Council meets on Feb. 25 and again on March 25.

With files from CBC Radio's Ontario Morning

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