Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

April 22, 2012 10:18 ET

RMC Saint-Jean Exercises Freedom of the City in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu

SAINT-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, QUÉBEC--(Marketwire - April 22, 2012) - Today, Royal Military College Saint-Jean (RMC Saint-Jean) exercised Freedom of the City in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Officer Cadet Gregory Hamel, the Cadet Wing Commander, led the officer cadets to City Hall, where Mayor Gilles Dolbec reviewed the troops. The Mayor and the Commandant of RMC Saint-Jean, Colonel Guy Maillet, both addressed the troops.

"RMC Saint-Jean is one of the jewels of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu," said Mayor Gilles Dolbec. "On behalf of City Council, and citizens of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, I wish to express my appreciation for the contribution RMC Saint-Jean has made and continues to make to our community and our country."

Accompagnied by La Musique du Royal 22e Régiment, close to 190 officer cadets marched from RMC Saint-Jean to City Hall. After being escorted by the Director of Police Services for the municipality of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, the Cadet Wing Commander, Officer Cadet Gregory Hamel, knocked on the City Hall doors to ask the Mayor for permission to exercise Freedom of the City.

"Freedom of the City is the highest honour a city can bestow upon a military unit. It is with great pride that we accept this opportunity to exercise this right granted by the City of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu," said Colonel Maillet, Commandant of RMC Saint-Jean. "We have had and continue to enjoy excellent relations with the City of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and this ceremony serves as a tangible way to perpetuate the close relationship that RMC Saint-Jean enjoys with the community."

The Freedom of the City Ceremony is a military tradition, dating back to the Wars of the Roses medieval era. Marauding military units from both sides constantly harassed cities. Before a city would admit a military unit inside its walls, the chief constable would demand to know the reason soldiers wished to enter the city, then escorted their commander to the chambers of city council. If the leaders felt the unit could be trusted, it was granted the privilege known as Freedom of the City. This entitled the unit to enter the city with drums beating, banners flying, and bayonets fixed.

The City of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu granted Freedom of the City to the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean (CMR) on October 1, 1977 and the right was exercised in 1992 and 1995. Founded in 1952, CMR was closed in 1995. When it was reopened in 2008, the unit was given a bilingual name and became known as Royal Military College Saint-Jean (RMC Saint-Jean) and Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean (CMR Saint-Jean). This year, RMC Saint-Jean is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the foundation of CMR.

The mission of RMC Saint-Jean is to prepare officer cadets for successful careers as commissioned officers in the Canadian Forces by means of its academic, leadership, sports and bilingualism programmes.

Contact Information