The Royal New Brunswick Regiment (Carleton and York) is celebrating a 250-year history that is traced back to when the Sunbury County Militia was authorized on October 11, 1770.
The regiment has gone through several name and organizational changes in a time period that spans parts of four centuries.
"The regiment predates Canada and even predates New Brunswick," said Capt. David Hughes, a historian with the regiment. "There's a lot of New Brunswickers [who are] probably not aware of the regiment's history."
Hughes said there's a lot of significant history within the regiment, but highlights the First World War, Second World War and the War of 1812.
"One of the units that we trace our heritage through is the 104th Regiment of Foot, which was raised here in New Brunswick," Hughes said. "It was the first regiment of the line of the British army raised outside of the U.K."
Sgt. Joseph Thomas said there is "definitely a lot of pride" about being part of a regiment with such a longstanding history.
"A lot of soldiers in the unit nowadays, they are no different than the soldiers that come before when they all come from different parts, and walks of life, in New Brunswick."
Thomas said he hopes the regiment's birthday is a time for people to reflect on the past.
"Soldiers before us, even current soldiers, where they've been with this unit," he said. "This unit has taken part in some of the major battles in the First and Second World War, even up to Afghanistan."
Lt.-Col. Brent Whelan, the commanding officer of the Royal New Brunswick Regiment, said he's proud to be part of the regiment's history.
"There's some very astute and well-known New Brunswickers who have been part of this regiment," he said.
Whelan said the regiment has contributed to peacekeeping efforts around the world in recent years, and currently has soldiers in the Ukraine.
It's the level of commitment the soldiers make that keeps the regiment moving forward, Whelan said.
"These are young men and women who have a civilian work career, perhaps they're students, they have long days, long weeks — and at the end of that they will still put on their uniform and they will attend training, and they will do what's required."
There were elaborate plans in the works to mark the regimental birthday. That was before COVID-19 arrived.
Instead, there will be an event Sunday evening for 50 people, seated according to public health guidelines, with Lt.-Gov. Brenda Murphy speaking. The event will be live streamed on social media.
Despite the scaled-back celebration, Whelan said he doesn't think the significance of the milestone is lost.