Distinguished Canadian, Major-General Lewis MacKenzie, CM, CMM, OOnt, MSC, CD (Retired) is set to carry on a long-standing tradition by becoming the official representative to Fort Henry National Historic Site as its new Honorary Guard Commander this month, with a farewell to the Honourable Hugh D. Segal, OC, OOnt, CD, Fort Henry Guard #4, who has held the position since 2006.

With a striking repertoire of accomplishments and after a 36-year career in the Canadian Armed Forces, Major-General MacKenzie’s courageous leadership and perseverance will be significant to the morale and esprit-de-corps within the ceremonial life of the dedicated Fort Henry Guard.

 

A graduate of Xavier Junior College of Sydney, Nova Scotia and the University of Manitoba, he is celebrated for his lessons on leadership, years of expertise on conflict resolution and delivery of humanitarian aid under the most difficult of circumstances. During his military career, he served nine years in Germany with NATO forces and commanded peacekeeping tours of duty in the Gaza Strip, Cyprus, Cairo, Vietnam, Central America and most prominently known for his committed efforts in Sarajevo in the former Republic of Yugoslavia under the United Nations Protection Force in 1992.

He has received worldwide publicity and acclaim for his personal involvement in organizing and directing the delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid brought into Sarajevo during this period, while at the same time negotiating between the warring factions on behalf of the United Nations. This ultimately enhanced the reputation of both the United Nations and Canada.

For his lifetime achievement in protective services, Major-General MacKenzie was named a member of The Order of Canada, the country’s highest honour. He became the first Canadian, military or civilian to be awarded a second Meritorious Service Cross. He earned the respect and appreciation of many nations for his uncompromising commitment to operations, accomplished leadership, and spirited cooperation. He retired from the Canadian Armed Forces in 1993.

His book, Peacekeeper: The Road to Sarajevo, was a #1 bestseller, and the award-winning documentary based on it, A Soldier’s Peace, has aired in over 60 countries. His follow-up book, Soldiers Made Me Look Good: A Life in the Shadow of War was released to critical acclaim.

He will be serving as a role model to preserve and promote both the Fort Henry Guard and Fort Henry. A Change of Command ceremony will be streamed on Facebook Live.

Date: Thursday, January 21, 2021 Time: 5 P.M. – 5:30 P.M. EST
Link: www.facebook.com/forthenry1832

More details can be found in the full press release.

As many of us know, Fort Henry opened as a museum and historic site on August 1, 1938.  A crowd of more than 5,000 people gathered to see Prime Minster William Lyon Mackenzie King review the first Fort Henry Guard, followed by a keynote address.  Mackenzie King was deeply moved by the visit, and he later wrote, “The visit to Fort Henry itself was of exceptional interest.  Indeed I shall recall it always as one of the greatest and most significant events of my life”.

The Prime Minister’s speech was carried live across the country on CBC Radio.  Thanks to extensive research and outreach by Club Archivist Daniel Rose, CBC’s licensing division authorized Library and Archives Canada to make the recording available.  It’s a wonderful speech, and stands as one of the most notable moments in the Guard’s 80+ year history.

 

With cooler weather ahead, now is a great time to check out some of the new Fort Henry Guard clothing that’s available online at our Entripy shop.  In addition to hats, hoodies, t-shirts and jackets, we’ve just added some classic sweatshirts in a variety of colours, and with different logo options.  And just a reminder that shipping in Canada is free for orders over $75.00.

Visit our store here – happy shopping!

Fort Henry has a new podcast that profiles the people who make history come alive at the Fort, featuring stories that are both new and familiar.  Hilltop History is co-hosted by JJ and Alex McLean, Fort Henry’s Curator and Program Support Officer (and one of the Guard Club’s board members).

The first two episodes of Hilltop History are now available here

Good news! On July 1st, Fort Henry partially re-opened to the public with modified programming. The Fort is offering self-guided tours, and some members of the Guard are stationed at points throughout the Fort to offer interpretation experiences.

While it’s not the summer we were all hoping for, we’re happy to see that the Fort is accessible again. If you are planning a visit, more details are available on Fort Henry’s website, including information about what’s available on-site and the health and safety measures that are in place.

Usually by this time of year the Fort would be filled with the sounds of the Guard training for opening day.  Friends who haven’t seen each other since last summer would be catching up while shining their boots in the locker room, and the new group of rookies would be getting an intense introduction to Guard life – everything from basic foot drill to preparing to deliver their first guided tour to a rowdy group of Grade 8s. 

Unfortunately, the Fort is quiet right now, and likely will be for some time due to the pandemic.  The St. Lawrence Parks Commission announced in early May that the opening of the Fort, which was scheduled to take place on May 16, has been delayed, and several events scheduled for this season have been cancelled.  You can check the Fort Henry website for regular updates here.

Obviously this is difficult news, and our thoughts are with all of the students who were planning to return to the Guard for another amazing summer, and all of the part-time and full-time staff at the Fort.  The Guard has brought the Fort to life for decades, and we look forward to welcoming them all back when it’s safe to do so.  In the meantime, we hope all of our former and current Guard are safe and healthy.