A sea of blue covered Garrison Grounds in Halifax Saturday morning as 500 Canadian navy men in uniform paraded around the field in celebration.
The reason for all the joy was a new flag – the Queen’s Colour – that was presented to the navy by Canadian Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean.
The Queen’s Colour is a ceremonial flag presented to the navy on behalf of the Royal family every 30 years. It represents the Canadian navy’s loyalty to the Royal family and to Canada.
About 4,000 people watched the ceremony from spots on Citadel Hill above Garrison Grounds.
“Every once in a while you have to renew those vows of service to country, re-affirm the honour and privilege we have to serve and (the) respect we have for all those people who went before us,” said Capt. John Newton, a Commander of Halifax’s navy base.
The Governor General showed her respect for the occasion by wearing a military uniform, and spoke highly of those who work in the field.
“It is an honour and a source of great pride for me to wear your uniform,” Jean said Saturday during her speech.
Saturday’s ceremony took an entire year of preparation. The sailors who participated began training a month ago and the 100-piece band started practicing together two weeks ago after arriving from across the country.
The event cost about $400 000, “in addition to what we do on a day to day basis,” Newton said.
Lead Seaman James Chilton, a trombone player from H.M.C.S York, said he wasn’t nervous about performing in the event, but was “maybe a little (nervous) to finally see the Governor General.”
Jean’s appearance was a top moment for many, including Newton.
“The highlight was Michaelle Jean and those very profound words of what it means to be in the military service,” he said.