ELMSDALE: It was very evident what the visit from the Canadian Forces Snowbirds meant to many as COVID19 along with the events of the past couple of weeks put a damper on the mood of many Nova Scotians.
As 40 or 50 people gathered in the field adjacent to the Elmsdale Superstore, while keeping their physical distance most of which were families from the Elmsdale, Nine Mile River, and Lantz areas, the Snowbirds buzzed overhead and there were slight cheers, snapping of cameras, and waves.
The Snowbirds kicked off their cross-Canada tour—dubbed #OperationInspiration—in N.S. on May 3. The tour is aimed at lifting spirits of Canadians dampened because of COVID19.
However, the tour meant more to Nova Scotia then originally planned given the tragic mass shooting in Portapique before ending in Enfield last month that saw 23 killed (including Baby Beaton). The gunman was stopped by police when they shot and killed him at the Irving Big Stop.
The flyover was also held as inspiration due to COVID19, and to honour the six members of HMCS Fredericton lost when the helicopter they were on crashed in the Mediterranean Sea in training. One of those members was Matt Pyke, a former East Hants volunteer firefighter in Rawdon and Gore.
For the N.S. tour, the Snowbirds flew over Portapique, before going over Debert, Truro, and then an emotional moment for many at the site where Enfield RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson and Joey Webber, who had stopped to help, were killed in Shubenacadie.
After buzzing along Hwy 102 in Elmsdale, the Snowbirds went over a couple of subdivisions and homes along Hwy 2 in Enfield before flying over the RCMP station.
“It was great to see them come over here in Elmsdale,” said Noah Ashley, of Lantz.
Noah’s sister, Cierra, was also pleased. But also recognized why they were here.
“It would have been better if they had to come for an airshow or different reasons, but this will help us be happy,” she said.
At mostly each spot they let out smoke at the back of their jets to recognize the spots or the people on hand to take in their blink-of-an-eye appearance.
The Snowbirds continued from Enfield onward to Halifax for a quick flyover there, before returning to CFB Greenwood, their home base for the N.S. leg.
They were scheduled to depart and head for Newfoundland and Labrador for a 3 p.m. show on Monday, May 4, however weather postponed that departure.