‘Be together and support one another’: Nova Scotia marks 1st anniversary of deadly mass shooting

NOTE: A memorial ceremony will be streamed live at this link beginning at 2:45 p.m. AT. 

One year ago, Nova Scotia was filled with terror.

One year later, the province continues to heal as a small rural community remembers the 22 lives lost in the country’s deadliest rampage in history.

Read more:
One year later: How the Nova Scotia mass shooting shook and changed a province forever

“It feels like it was just yesterday, doesn’t it? Time goes by so fast,” said Bill MacEachern, as he readied himself to take part in a memorial marathon.

“Life feels so precious. We got to be like this, be together and support one another.”

The sombre day began with the memorial run, which began in the Colchester County community of Portapique and wound its way to Victoria Park in Truro.

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Like so many others who decided to run or volunteer during Sunday’s event, MacEachern knows some of the victims of last April’s deadly shooting.

Greg and Jamie Blair were his friends.

“When we were just driving here thinking about how beautiful it is here, and that this could happen here. It’s just kind of so sad that such a tragic thing could happen,” he said.

“So many lives lost that didn’t need to be.”

MacEachern says he’s always found running to be therapeutic — a sentiment echoed by other participants. Money raised from the event will go towards a permanent memorial for the victims.

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“It’s surreal,” said Jillian Arany, who wrote the names of each victim on paper hearts and wore them on her back as she ran the marathon.

“It felt surreal that it happened and every time that I come through this way, it’s always hard.”

Scott and Mindy Miller knew several of the people killed during the shooter’s two-day terror spree, and chose to volunteer at the event as a way to show their support.

“This is our community, so it just feels like we need to do something to pay it back to those who have lost their lives,” said Scott.

A memorial service will be held at Truro’s First United Church this afternoon, and will include a province-wide moment of silence as the ceremony begins.

The anniversary was also expected to be marked by a peaceful march to the RCMP detachment in nearby Bible Hill, where some of the victim’s relatives planned to express their dismay with the Mounties’ response to one of the worst mass killings in Canadian history.

— With files from Graeme Benjamin and The Canadian Press 

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