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Watching the ceremony from the national cenotaph this morning,I noted several changes from the ceremony in previous years. The first was that there was no narration by Peter Mansbridge. The silent parts stayed silent. I noticed it, but didn't feel that anything was missing. Indeed, it tended to feel more like one was there; the way that there is no ongoing colour commentary when you attend a hockey or football game. The second aspect was that, unlike prior years when several clergy would give speeches, the only speech this year was from the head chaplain of the Canadian Armed Forces. It was pleasantly inclusive. He urged people to pray to "the God they understand", which was a nice way of putting it. The third difference was that he made mention of the suicide - attempted, completed, and thought about - of fellow members of the military, and the need to support them and their families. He made mention, in passing, of injuries, "visible and invisible". In general, I thought it was a nice ceremony that did justice to those who served or still serve.

It took me a few moments to recognize GG Payette. I'm used to seeing her hair in a frizzier state with more volume, and had never seen her in any uniform other than astronaut. She had to braid her hair to pack it down under the hat that was part of her military uniform. One thing that did confuse me a bit were the medals she sported on her uniform. I won't dismiss her many accomplishments, prior to this role, but what are those medals for? Or are the medals supposed to be what has been accumulated by the role/office of GG over time, as different persons passed through it? Doing a quick search, I see that both Adrienne Clarkson and David Johnston also sported medals (though I can't tell if they are the exact same ones).
 

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Must have been uncomfortable for the poor chaplain trying to represent the many faiths within the CAF with the clearly deiphobic GG in attendance.





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