At 3 p.m. on April 24, the Vermilion First United Church bells rang 22 times to honour the 22 victims of Nova Scotia’s mass shooting.
The bells rang in collaboration with churches across the country and according to Leslie Bruce, the idea came from a social media post in Prince Edward Island encouraging others to follow along in support. Bruce was born in Nova Scotia, and with a brother and friends still there, she has an ongoing connection to the province.
After receiving some minor repairs, the bell in Vermilion was ready to join in with those across multiple time zones. Residents who were listening paused and sent warm thoughts and prayers to their fellow countrymen.
“With this going on during a pandemic it is hard to comprehend. They cannot come together to mourn or provide solace. It’s a heart-breaker, and we wanted to provide a nice gesture to let them know that we are thinking of them,” said Bruce.
Many Vermilion residents were thinking of Nova Scotia this week and placed phone calls to ensure that their family and friends were okay. A Nova Scotia flag and flowers were placed outside a local residence. Mayor, Caroline McAuley, sent an online message and said, “To those of you from Nova Scotia who are living in our community, we want to let you know that our hearts and our prayers go out to you.”
Flags at the Town Office, as well as at the Royal Canadian and the 2645 Army Cadet Armories. were lowered to half-mast in respect of the recent tragedy.