Duty Calls

National Sentry Program 2020 begins at the National War Memorial

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have resumed their post at the National War Memorial as of July 13th.

With the mounting of sentries at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Sentry Program reinforces Canada’s commitment to honour past and present members whose actions, at home and abroad, have given us freedom and quality of life.

“It is important for Canadians to commemorate significant anniversaries and accomplishments that have been instrumental to the growth and prosperity of Canada and our military heritage,” says Maj.-Gen. William Seymour, Acting Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command.

In 2020, due to the requirements to limit the spread of COVID-19, the National Sentry Program was delayed from its expected start date of April 9.

National Sentry Program

Established in 2007, the National Sentry Program is designed to reinforce public awareness that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is a significant symbol of tribute and for the sacrifices made to Canada by fallen members of the CAF.

“The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of our most significant reminders of the service and sacrifice of members of the Canadian Armed Forces. We honour past and present members whose actions, at home and abroad, have given us the freedom and quality of life we enjoy. I thank our partners at the City of Ottawa, who helped us make the program happen in these extraordinary circumstances. I encourage all Canadians to stay safe while visiting the site and paying their respects to our fallen heroes,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Located at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is to be treated with dignity and respect.

In previous years, sentries were posted seven days a week. However, in 2020, sentries will be on duty at a reduced schedule, Monday to Friday, between 9 am and 3 pm.

Members of the National Sentry Program will follow protective health measures of the government and the CAF and work a reduced schedule to limit any possible spread of COVID-19.

What Visitors Need to Know

Visitors are asked to keep a minimum two-metre distance from the sentries at all times.

Visitors are asked to check the webpage, Facebook,  or Twitter  to confirm if there have been any changes to the sentry hours. Adjustments could take place without notice if the health of the sentries or the public is in question.

The decision to begin the National Sentry Program in 2020 was only reached after meaningful consultation with health agencies, and the City of Ottawa said Maj.-Gen. Seymour.

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Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

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