Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal Canadian Legion will continue on Remembrance Day, Nov. 11 to honour those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
“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 Alain Chatigny, Service Officer for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #137. “As so many other commemorations have either been cancelled or delayed by the current pandemic, the symbology of our Legions and community leaders paying homage to past sacrifices and before the eyes of those that served is more important now than ever.
“Our pledge to never forget echoes loudly throughout a land that has been immersed in isolation with a population whose focus is far from the events that we honour with this ceremony.”
So, keeping with the determination to conduct the ceremony live and before the eyes of those that served, the 2020 Campbell River Remembrance Ceremony will be conducted live at Cenotaph at Spirit Square on Wednesday, Nov. 11 with reduced numbers and restrictions in place. The ceremony will start at 10:45 a.m. and the livestream of the event can be watched on the Legion Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CampbellRiverLegion or on Shaw Cable TV.
At 11 a.m. you can join millions of Canadians in observing two minutes of silence to honour, remember and thank all who served and sacrificed.
A plan has been formulated that will allow many elements of the traditional ceremony to take place while working within the restrictions imposed by the current pandemic.
“The modifications in our planning and conduct of the Campbell River Remembrance Day Ceremony are difficult but not insurmountable,” Chatigny said. “Following local area restrictions imposed due to the pandemic remains paramount in concern of the safety of all involved. However, with a reduction in people at the ceremony location and an adjustment in the format will allow us to honour our veterans and the sacrifices made, regardless of the pandemic.”
So, in light of the pandemic restrictions imposed by regional and provincial health authorities, the Legion Branch 137 will not be open before or after the ceremony and the limits imposed on outdoor and indoor gatherings will be observed, as will the physical distancing requirements of six feet or two meters. Participants will also wear protective masks. What’s more, youth organizations usually involved in the ceremony like Cadet, Junior Rangers and Scouts and Guides will not be participating. The Canadian Armed Forces abide by the restrictions imposed by the local health authorities and so will be limiting numbers and marching formations.
Only those who are part of the ceremony can participate in the event.
Veterans and Legion members are in the demographic most affected by the pandemic and, so, there will no veterans on parade nor Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP, Campbell River Fire Department. The colour party will be reduced to Canadian, Legion, Union Jack, Red Ensign, NATO and UN flags and flagbearers will have to keep two metres apart.
The official party will consist of the Legion President, Ladies Auxilliary President, MP, MLA, Mayor and Padre. There will be a trumpeter for the Last Post and Rouse, one piper to play the Lament, one Vigil, one flag orderly to lower and raise the Canadian flag, one video coordinator, one camera operator, PA systems technicians, three security attendants and one MC.
The Guests of Honour will stand in front of and face the Memorial, two metres apart and wearing a mask. Their wreaths are pre-positioned so no assistant wreath bearer is required.
Most wreaths are to be pre-placed at the memorial prior to the ceremony. Those members of the public wanting to place a personal wreath can do so after the ceremony concludes.
The public is discouraged from attending due to the limited space and COVID-19 restrictions. If you do attend, you are asked to distance yourself two metres and wear a mask.