Local legion honours victim, survivor of Snowbirds crash in Kamloops, B.C.
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Local legion honours victim, survivor of Snowbirds crash in Kamloops, B.C.

Last Updated May 21, 2020 at 4:46 pm EDT

Kamloops firefighters stand during a minute of silence during a tribute ceremony to honour Capt. Jennifer Casey at the Kamloops Airport Thursday May 21, 2020. Capt. Casey, the Snowbirds public affairs officer, died after the Snowbirds jet she was in crashed shortly after takeoff. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Thousands of people tuned in online Thursday to hear the sombre sound of a bugle playing the Last Post and to take a moment of pause in remembrance of the victim of a Snowbirds plane crash.

The local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion held the ceremony at the Kamloops airport, where the military aircraft took off before the fatal crash on Sunday.

The ceremony paid tribute to Capt. Jennifer Casey, who died, and Capt. Richard MacDougall, who was seriously injured after they ejected from the plane.

While the public was initially invited, the legion shifted to an online broadcast amid concerns the event would draw a mass gathering contrary to public health recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ceremony also included the singing of O’ Canada, the laying of wreaths, and several speakers who showed support for the Snowbirds and all who serve in the Canadian Forces.

Among the speakers was Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian, who said the city will memorialize the tragedy and recognize the contributions of the Snowbirds.

“They’re cherished Canadian icons that have been with us for 50 years and we will make an appropriate memorial to their service to this country,” Christian said.

Daniel Martin, president of the Kamloops legion, said the Air Force has always been a part of the city, and it was very important to do something to honour the Snowbirds and Casey, while offering condolences to her family.

“Hopefully the healing process can start.”

Lt. Alexandra Hejduk, public affairs officer with the Canadian Forces, said the Casey family, who lives in Halifax, is grateful for the support from the Kamloops community in the aftermath of Sunday’s tragedy.

She documented the event and sent photos to the family, she said.

“This is a city of so much heart, so much love and giving,” she said. (CHNL)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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