HALIFAX -- Many milestones are being celebrated differently due to the COVID-19 pandemic – even the 250th birthday of the Royal New Brunswick Regiment. On Sunday, the historic regiment hosted a flag-raising event; while it was a humble affair, it held much significance.

Following two years of planning, celebrations for the Royal New Brunswick Regiment were scaled back, with the event taking place at the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly in Fredericton – raising the reserve infantry battalion's camp flag.

"Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the events that we did have planned were a lot grander, but due to the COVID-19 restrictions, everything was cut short," says Royal New Brunswick Regiment historian, Cpt. David Hughes.

The COVID-19 pandemic isn't the first pandemic the regiment has seen in its 250-year history. However, it is the first time a regimental flag has been raised at the legislature.

"We had a ceremony about two weeks ago with 50 of our soldiers and important guests obeying all the COVID-19 rules," says Royal New Brunswick Regiment MWO, Lorne Dalton. "I think that went very well."

The roots of the regiment predate Canada – even New Brunswick. On Oct. 11, 1770, the Sunbury County Militia was authorized in Sunbury County, Nova Scotia – what is now all of western New Brunswick.

The flag-raising didn't feature salutes, spectators, a parade, or fanfare; however, it did hold a lot of meaning for those involved.

"As the unit historian, it means a lot to me," says Hughes. "I'm very much interested in the history of the regiment, even though it is a pretty low-key event."

While celebrations have been held throughout the year, Oct. 11 is the actual anniversary for the regiment – a big piece of New Brunswick's history.

Meanwhile, the regiment's motto 'spem reduxit' – which means 'hope restored' – are words everyone can use during a year that has been most unusual.