By Chad Ingram
Like almost everything in 2020, Remembrance Day will look much different this year amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
That, however, doesn’t preclude any of us from taking part in the act of remembrance.
Normally in Minden, hundreds of residents would gather downtown near the cenotaph on the Village Green. Members of the Minden Legion would parade in the colours, and numerous residents, politicians and representatives of various organizations would participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the foot of the cairn. The Last Post would be played, students from Archie Stouffer Elementary School would sing a song or make a presentation, and a community gathering would take place at the Legion following the ceremony.
Normally, similar ceremonies would play out in thousands of communities across the country.
That will not be the case this year. Members of the Minden Legion’s executive will take place in a scaled-down ceremony at the cenotaph, but it is not a public event. The story in other communities will be the same.
Rather, with health and safety in mind amid the ongoing pandemic, the Royal Canadian Legion is asking Canadians to observe Remembrance Day at home this year. “With Remembrance Day fast approaching, The Royal Canadian Legion is reminding Canadians that the best way to pay tribute to our fallen this year, is at home,” reads a pres release issued by the Royal Canadian Legion earlier this week. “For the first time ever, people are asked not to attend ceremonies in person.”
The county’s major broadcasters will air the national Remembrance Day ceremony from Ottawa, and the Legion is also broadcasting the event live on its Facebook page at https://m.facebook.com/CanadianLegion/
However, just because Canadians can’t congregate the way we normally do for these sombre ceremonies, does not mean we can’t take time, if even a few minutes, out of our day on Nov. 11 to reflect on the sacrifices made by so many, and on the horrors of war itself.
“It is disappointing to discourage people from attending ceremonies this year,” Danny Martin, director of the national ceremony, said in the release. “However, beyond watching national and local broadcasts, thankfulness is also reflected by wearing a poppy, a profound gesture. And wherever they may be, Canadians can take two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. on the 11th.”
Divided we stand, but united, we will remember them.