Summer in Saskatchewan – RCMP Sunset Ceremony
Regina is home to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Academy, or “Depot” Division. This is where all RCMP cadets come to be trained as officers of our national police force. Through the summer months, the RCMP Academy performs a Sunset Ceremony. I’ve lived in Regina for almost my entire life, and until this summer, I had never been to one!
What is a Sunset Ceremony? Well, I am happy to say that I have finally learned! I want to make sure that I don’t mess up the details, so according to the RCMP website synopsis:
“This ceremony is an old military tradition dating back to the 17th century and is referred to as a “military tattoo”. The term “tattoo”, derived from an old Dutch phrase meaning “turn off the taps”, comes to us from a time when a soldier’s life was strictly controlled by his regiment. The daily routine of a military post was signaled by the beat of a drum. At sunset, a lone drummer was sent into the streets of town to beat out a tattoo. It was the signal for the tavern owners to close down for the night and for military personnel to return to their post. When the latter were back at the post, the flag was lowered in a ceremony marking the end of another day.”
During the ceremony, the RCMP cadets perform marching drills, which I always find so amazing to watch. My two left feet marvel at their precision, and ability to not fall down and take their troop mates down with them! Aside from the marching drills, there were police dog demonstrations, RCMP band, and the lowering of the flag. They encourage crowd participation, when they’re able to. Our daughter got to run out and hold the flag while the national anthem was sung. She was absolutely thrilled, and honestly, it choked me up a little! She was so proud to stand there, holding that beautiful flag, and honouring her country.
It is so interesting to watch the troop perform their drills! To see the uniforms that they once wore, and hear about the traditions of the RCMP and how things have changed over the years. I am thankful that we have the opportunity to witness these things that show pieces of our country’s rich heritage.