The National Police Federation (NPF) is asking Canadians to take part in a national day of mourning on Friday for victims of the mass shooting in Nova Scotia last weekend.
Twenty-two people, including RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson, were killed in a shooting rampage that spanned several rural communities in the province.
Another officer, RCMP Const. Chad Morrison, was injured in the tragedy but is now recovering from his wounds at home.
In a tweet sent out on April 22, the union representing roughly 20,000 RCMP officers asked the public to wear red on Friday, April 24, as a tribute to the fallen.
In a post on the NPF’s Facebook page, the organization said wearing red to support Canadian heroes is a “proud tradition,” inspired by the “Red Fridays initiative” that began to support Canadian troops in Afghanistan.
Wear Red campaigns, it added, have also been led by RCMP spouses over the years to honour fallen officers.
Those who participate are asked to share pictures and videos of themselves in red using the hashtag, #WearRedFriday, and to take part in a two-minute pause at 2 p.m. AST.
Folks can also step outside to mourn as a community while respecting physical distancing requirements, said NPF president Brian Sauvé by email.
“This was an unimaginably tragic event that underscores the very real risk that our RCMP Members face when they go to work everyday to protect our communities,” he wrote in an NPF Facebook post.
“Our hope is that this small gesture will help unite Canadians in a show of support for the RCMP and the families of all the victims of this tragic event.”
Stevenson was a 23-year veteran of the force and a mother of two.
Retired Mountie Chris Williams, who attended RCMP boot camp with her in 1995, described her as a bright, fun-loving and laid-back East Coaster.
“She had an absolutely infectious smile that would light up the room and that you could see from a mile away,” he told Global News from Kelowna, B.C. where he is now retired.
“It didn’t matter how much stress she was under, what was going on — that smile would be constant.”
Morrison, who is recovering at home from injuries sustained during the massacre, has served the RCMP for 11 years. In a recent Facebook post, he said is “OK and surrounded with love.”