The Ad Astra Stone Ceremony is an annual event at the NAFMC, held in the RCAF Memorial Airpark. On the last Saturday of September, stones added to the park in the past year are dedicated and all Ad Astra stones are recognized and honoured. It is held in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Air Force Association and 8 Wing/CFB Trenton. Approximately 300-400 stones are dedicated each year. Currently, there are over 11,000 stones on display. Guests from across the country and even around the globe, gather to pay tribute to those named on the Stones and to all who have and who continue to serve in Canada’s Air Force.
Precisely at 2:00 pm, the call of pipes and drums herald the arrival of a large colour guard, dignitaries, and honoured guests. Guest speakers are invited address the audience on the current year’s theme. Previous themes have included The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and Bomber Command, as well as 424, 435, 436, 437 and 400 Squadron anniversaries. The afternoon is concluded with a blessing of all stones and a fly-past, courtesy of 8 Wing/CFB Trenton. NAFMC Executive Director, Chris Colton is pleased to note, “While we’ve come close, the Ad Astra Ceremony has never been rained out.”
“The Museum does an unbelievable job of keeping the Air Force memory alive. Through the Ad Astra stone program, we can now count over 11,000 stories that are waiting to be told…”
“The successes of today’s Air Force continue to honour the pioneers who opened our skies and whose names we see all around us today…”
“It is always very satisfying to receive so many positive comments and expressions of gratitude for the opportunity to gather with friends and family and remember Air Force veterans both past and present…”
The Ad Astra Program was introduced in 1996 and has proven to be enormously popular and successful. Individual stones made of granite bear the engraved inscription “Ad Astra” (to the stars), the Air Force Roundel, and the name, hometown, province and dates of birth and death of the person honoured. For a donation of $150, a stone will be placed in the Airpark in commemoration of any person who has served or is serving in the Canadian Air Force, their spouse, or a Canadian citizen who has or is serving with an allied force in an air force capacity.