Honking and hugging at RCMP support rally in Digby

Published on June 10, 2014

People went beyond honking to show their support at the Honk for the RCMP rally in Digby.

RELATED: First Presbyterian Church to broadcast RCMP funerals

About 75 people turned up at the big Tim Horton’s on Warwick Street in Digby on Monday evening, June 9, many dressed in red, to show their support for the officers of our nationalpolice force after the fatal shooting of three officers in Moncton last week.

The supporters waved Canadian flags and held up signs to passing motorists that said “Honk for the RCMP”.

Others encouraged honking the old-fashioned way, putting a closed hand over their head and then pulling downwards to make the gesture often used to encourage big trucks to blow their horns.

Many did honk and many stopped and reached out to shake hands with the two young Mounties, Const. Oliver Roberts and Const. Jared Daley, who showed up in uniform.

Several hugged Daley.

He said it felt great to see all the support for the RCMP.

“As soon as I got out of the car, people were coming up and wanting to shake my hand, they were thanking me and giving me hugs,” he said. “It’s nice cause sometimes you don’t know how people feel.

“We didn’t expect that many people and the majority of the traffic all honked,” he said. “We lost members in the force but they related that to us and it was touching to see they felt the grief that we felt.”

Daley brought pictures of the three fallen officers, Const. Fabrice Gevaudan, Const.  Douglas Larche and Const. Dave Ross.

“I wanted it to be about them, I want people to remember them,” he said. “I know their families are hurting and I want people to know what we lost.”

Linda Milbury organized the event and was more than happy with the turnout.

“This shows that we do support the RCMP,” she said. “I feel they don’t get enough support and respect on a day-to-day basis and it’s only after a tragedy that we come out and thank them for all they do for us.”

Milbury said she was saddened by the events in Moncton but felt powerless to help.

While reading discussion on the Digby County Courier Facebook group about different expressions of support, she came up with, and posted, her idea of a gathering.

“I feel that there are a lot of people who would like to do something to support our local RCMP detachment at this sad time,” she posted on the afternoon of Saturday, June 7. “What if a bunch of us agreed to meet in the parking lot by Tim's, maybe around 1 p.m. on Monday for a couple of hours with signs saying Honk To Support the RCMP?”

Organizers eventually changed the time to after supper and made signs and prepared red ribbons to hand out at the gathering. Local retailers provided coffee and cookies.

“It felt good to release some of the pent up feelings that we have all shared in these past few days,” said Milbury. “For an idea that started only 48 hours ago, it was amazing to see such a great number of citizens come out and join us.”

Linda and Eric Cox of Bear River were among the supporters; their son Adrien serves with the Mounties in Newfoundland.

“It’s a thankless job they do,” said Eric. “They never know what they’re going to get called out to and we owe them a lot of thanks.”

Linda has heard some of the dangers from her son and she worries when he tells her too much.

“It’s scary,” she said, “As soon as I heard about this we decided we had to come and show our support.”

Linda and Eric also want to stop by Jaynes Funeral Home to sign the book of condolences there. Books are available for signing both at the Digby and Weymouth funeral homes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Wednesday, June 11.

Condolences may also be sent to an RCMP address: condolences_condoleances@rcmp-grc.gc.ca .