Sunday, August 21, 2011

78th Highland Regiment granted Freedom of the City

His Worship, Mayor Peter Kelly inspects the Regiment

What a great weekend to be a military history buff in one of Canada’s oldest incorporated cities – Halifax.

The current Highland Regiment garrisoned at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site is the 78th Highland Regiment, primarily consisting of civilian students on summer employment programs. The original 78th arrived in Halifax in 1869 and remained stationed here for just two short years. In 1871 the 78th were transferred to Ireland, but not before given a true send-off by the now famous brewmaster, Alexander Keith (Keith’s beer).

Traditional music on Canada’s east coast dates back to its very beginnings in Scotland. In fact, Nova Scotia is the Latin translation for New Scotland. The swirl of bagpipes and the beating of drums is nearly as old as the City itself.

This past Friday, Aug 19th, the 78th Highland Regiment marched from their garrison at the Citadel through the streets of Halifax to receive the “Freedom of the City” proclamation from His Worship, Mayor Peter Kelly. On Saturday evening the Citadel came alive with military precision as the 78th and the Royal Canadian Navy’s Stadacona band performed music and military drills in what is known as the “Sunset Ceremony.”

Gunpowder, dust and fire add to the pageantry and drama

There is a long and storied history with military traditions that comprise the Sunset Ceremony. Suffice to say it was at one time a necessary part of garrison life and a means of communicating in battle. Today the ceremony is one of pageantry and nostalgia.

With bagpipes swirling, kilts flailing, drums beating, canons and muskets roaring it is an evening of entertainment that will leave you a little prouder of our heritage. Due to mobility restrictions it is a tough event to photograph, but a few snapshots are always available for the making.

Considering the event is about theatre, shouldn't photographers allow the movement to show?