‘A duty and responsibility’: Quebec unveils details of Day of Remembrance to honour COVID-19 victims

The Quebec flag flies at half-mast on the high tower of the national assembly. Jacques Boissonot/The Canadian Press

Quebec Premier François Legault released the preliminary details Friday of a commemoration ceremony to be held in Quebec City to honour the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ceremony will take place next Thursday, March 11, on the grounds of the national assembly.

The premier will be accompanied by Quebec’s lieutenant governor, the president of the national assembly, leaders of the opposition parties and other dignitaries, as well as by families who have lost loved ones and representatives for those working in essential services.

Read more: Quebec’s life expectancy drops for both men and women due to COVID-19 crisis

March 11, is significant in that it marks one year to the day since the World Health Organization declared the health crisis a pandemic.

“For the past year, we have been suffering the throes of an unprecedented health crisis, one of the most serious in our history,” Legault said in a news release.

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“Although our fight against the virus is not over, we have a duty and responsibility, as a government and also as a people, to pause and honour the memory of those who lost their lives.”

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Quebec’s Day of Remembrance will pay tribute not only to those who have lost their lives, but also to those working on the front lines.

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“On March 11, all Quebecers will accompany the families and loved ones of the victims in their mourning,” Legault said.

“We will also salute the achievements, both great and small, of our health care workers, our essential workers and volunteers who have been generous and mobilized since last March.”

Read more: Quebec adds 798 new coronavirus cases, 10 deaths as vaccination ramps up

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The white rose has been chosen as an emblem for the provincial day of mourning, evoking “both strength and delicateness.” The government states the flower is also associated with “honour and reverence.”

“The white rose symbolizes the sincerity of the sentiments expressed in tribute to the victims of COVID-19 and the unity of the Quebec people,” the news release reads.

The ceremony will begin at 12:10 p.m. with a minute of silence planned at 1 p.m.

As of Friday, the virus has claimed the lives of 10,455 Quebecers.

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