Local Legions to hold small November 11 ceremonies
Posted on Thursday November 5, 2020
Scaled-down National Remembrance Day service in Ottawa will be broadcast on Facebook Live.
PETAWAWA - Every year, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Canadians gather in parks, community centres, workplaces, schools and homes to honour Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans, observe two minues of silence to mark the sacrifices of the many who have fallen in the service of their country, and acknowledge the courage of those who still serve.
This year, however, the global pandemic has directly affected Remembrance Day ceremonies in communities across the country, including locally in Petawawa and Pembroke.
While a service will be held at the Petawawa Cenotaph at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 517 on November 11, it will be much smaller than in past years when thousands would attend the annual event. This year, there will be no parade, wreaths will be pre-laid, and only 100 people will be admitted to the grounds as per Renfrew County and District Health Unit regulations.
Though scaled down, Branch 517 Poppy Campaign chair Helene Hahn is grateful the Legion is still able to host a live ceremony.
“While things will not be as we wish, we will pay honour to our veterans in the best way we can,” she said.
Following the service, the lounge and upper hall will be open, but only 50 people will be allowed per floor and they must remain seated.
Similarly in Pembroke, the ceremony organized by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 72 at the Pembroke Cenotaph will not include a parade, and will be limited to 100 people.
Following the ceremony, the branch will be open with strict adherence to COVID rules on the number of guests permitted.
Both local services will be available to view on YourTV (Cogeco).
The National Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa has also been organized as more intimate commemoration, and for the first time, spectators are being encouraged to watch from home.
“The importance of a live ceremony honouring our Veterans and their sacrifices is considered paramount by the Legion, especially during the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War,” said Danny Martin, National Ceremony Director. “At a time when we have all been isolated for months by the pandemic, ensuring the symbolism of the Legion and community leaders paying homage to our Veterans is more important than ever.”
Significant changes to this year’s commemoration include: only 100 people in attendance, no Veteran’s parade, no Canadian Armed Forces parade, a reduced colour party, wreaths pre-positioned, and no members of the Cadets or Junior Rangers present.
The Legion will offer a Facebook Live presentation of the National Remembrance Day ceremony at www.facebook.com/CanadianLegion/.