Sunset Ceremony: Life in Ottawa


I mentioned in a previous post that the heroism in raising a large family is not always the endless march of chores (although it is relentless) but the ability to stop, breathe and do anything else than laundry, cooking and cleaning. When the children were younger… Let me rephrase that… When my older children were younger and we only had 4, we would go for hikes in the Gatineau Park, attend free family events in the Capital, visit museums, organize camping trips and get-togethers with friends. Since the fifth child, and even more since the sixth, we stopped doing anything but driving, cooking, cleaning… and oh, moving a few times too.

This week, my oldest daughter asked if we could attend the Sunset Ceremony at the RCMP musical ride headquarters. Once a year, the RCMP Musical Ride puts on a free show in Ottawa before leaving on their summer tour. Attending requires some wit as parking is limited and the best seats go quickly. We prefer to park at the Aviation Museum and walk 15 minutes (adult pace). Ideally, we would bring lawn chairs and a picnic and camp there no later than 6:00-6:30. The show ends at sunset with the lowering of the Canadian flag. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate Canadian culture and heritage and to teach the children about flag etiquette (because you know… more culture is better than less.) “Yes, every flag has to be lowered at sunset and put away.” “Yes, even the flag hanging off the neighbour’s front porch…”

This year, we were treated to a performance by the Canadian Sky Hawks, complete with wind change and crowd landing. I ended-up under a Sky Hawk parachute on Canada Day as a child. Memories… Now I watch the size of their boots and the speed of their descent and shudder.That being said, I was giddy as a little girl this week as we waited for the Hercules to drop its high performing cargo. I told my daughter: “There’s a fascinating mix of anal retentiveness and recklessness: they have to be obsessive about their kits and jump drills, yet they jump off a plane and do unnatural stunts with a parachute.” I could never take that step off the Hercules.

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