HALIFAX -- Those who cross the Macdonald Bridge in Halifax on Canada Day might notice something missing - the unfurling of the giant Canadian flags, a tradition that's been done for years.

"Out of respect for First Nations communities across the country, Halifax Harbour Bridges decided not to hang Canada flags on the Macdonald Bridge,” says Alison Macdonald, communications manager.

Macdonald says following the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at residential schools in western Canada, Bridge Commission board members made the decision to end, at least for this year, what had become a bit of a ritual.

“The Canada flags that are put on the Macdonald Bridge are a symbol of celebration, and with so many people in mourning right now, we just felt that now is not the time for celebration," says Macdonald.

The flags at the Royal Canadian Legion aren't being taken down but they are being lowered to half-mast.

For more than two decades, John Stone, the acting president of the Royal Canadian Legion Somme branch was willing to fight for the maple leaf.

He says lowering the flag or not flying it all on Canada Day is the right thing to do.

"I am a veteran, a 26-year veteran of the Navy, and I think it’s in respect, it’s a good thing," says Stone.

City flags will also be lowered.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage says there are other plans to show support for First Nations people.

City hall and the fountain on the Halifax Common will both be illuminated in orange.

"There will just be a lot of recognition of First Nations people, particularly the Mi’kmaq people. For me, and for many others, this Canada Day, will be that period of, a little more sombre reflection than normal in Canada,” says Savage.

Reflection of where Canada was and where the country is heading.