HISTORY of the Memorial Service

The murder of Ottawa rookie Cst. David Kirkwood on July 11, 1977, launched a response that, today, has become the nationally recognized ceremony honouring police and peace officers killed in the line of duty. Following Kirkwood’s senseless killing, Ottawa police officers vowed to keep his memory alive and to ensure that the magnitude of his sacrifice and that of others like him, would never be forgotten by Canadians.

Accordingly, on Sunday, September 24, 1978, a special service and tribute was held on Parliament Hill.

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Police and Peace Officers’ National Memorial Day

On September 24, 1998, the Government of Canada officially proclaimed the last Sunday of September of every year as Police and Peace Officers’ National Memorial Day. In announcing the commemorative day on September 27, 1998, the Solicitor General of Canada stated that “A formal, national Memorial Day gives Canadians an opportunity each year to formally e press appreciation for the dedication of police and peace officers, who make the ultimate, tragic sacrifice to keep our communities safe.”

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The addition of the Memorial Book, the Pavilion and the Honour Roll

During the 1984 service in Ottawa, a Memorial Book of Remembrance for police and correctional officers killed while on duty was introduced by the Office of the Solicitor General and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP).

On March 22, 1994, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien joined the more than 700 police officers and relatives of slain officers at a site behind the Parliament buildings. The Canadian Police Association (CPA) and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) ...

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Two-gun salute

The 1978 ceremony opened with a two-gun salute, fired by members of the 30th Field Regiment of the RCA. This symbolized a long-standing association between the Ottawa Police Service and the 30th Field Regiment, also known as the Bytown Gunners. Both were founded in 1855 and have a long history of mutual support in difficult times; from civil unrest, in the early days of Canada’s history, to royal visits in later years.

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