It was a sombre day at CFB Trenton. The Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in a helicopter crash overseas were honoured during a repatriation ceremony. Those in attendance, including the Prime Minister, donned black masks.
It was the largest repatriation since forces were in Afghanistan. The May 6 ceremony began at 2:30 PM Eastern with a cargo plane landing at the Ontario base.
Inside were the remains of Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, the Halifax native who lost her life in the crash. Her casket was the first to leave the plane.
The other five Canadian military members, whose bodies have not yet been recovered, were represented by pillows and headdresses. Bagpipes played while they were taken across the tarmac.
Each of them was taken to an individual hearse, where their mourners were allowed to come and pay their respects.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, and many military members attended the ceremony.
They wore masks and maintained a two-metre distance from each other.
According to CTV News, Trudeau is the first Prime Minister to attend one of these ceremonies since Paul Martin in 2004.
This was the largest repatriation of fallen Canadian soldiers since the war in Afghanistan.
On July 8, 2007, the bodies of six soldiers who were killed in a roadside bombing were brought back to Canada, according to CTV News.
Similar ceremonies in 2009 and 2010 were held to bring home the bodies of soldiers, who were killed in action.
The first saw the bodies of four soldiers killed in two separate incidents returned to CFB Trenton, where then-Defence Minister and current Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay was in attendance, as reported by CBC News.
The latter also saw the remains of four soldiers being returned home, along with Calgary Herald reporter Michelle Lang. CBC News reported at the time that all five were killed when their military vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.
In all cases, the hearses carrying the deceased made their way down the highway of heroes, as the latest one will as well.
However, this time is slightly different as Premier Ford asked people during his daily news conference on May 5 not to gather in large groups on the bridge above due to social distancing.