Commemoration services open but COVID concerns remain high

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The province has removed assembly limits for Remembrance Day ceremonies, but the Gray-Bruce Legions are still taking a cautious approach amid the 20-month pandemic.

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Owen Sound will be singing, with COVID-19 masks and a small parade, but no elderly veterans and vulnerable members of the Legion are invited to the cenotaph. In Durham, a very reduced service is planned, with no marching and just a small gathering afterwards.

Many Legions broadcast events for people to watch at home or at the Legion. Most wreaths will be laid before the ceremonies start at 11:00 a.m. Check with local branches for details.

Some local ceremonies are listed at https://legion.ca/remembrance/remembrance-day/remembrance-day-ceremonies.

It is also possible to watch the Canadian War Memorial Service in Ottawa on television.

There will be no Legion March to Durham Cenotaph, wreaths will be pre-laid, the Flag Group will meet at the Cenotaph, and the Reserves and Regular Forces have chosen not to send a Color Guard.

“We obviously can’t stop people from attending,” said Durham Poppy Campaign Chairman Brian Carr. “But we are not inviting people,” he said. “We are not inviting any dignitaries to attend.”

After a brief ceremony, a few members will return to the Legion for a small gathering.

Carr said Durham’s plans are in line with directives from Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion. He published protocols before the provincial relaxation of public participation rules.

This week, the Gray Bruce Health Service released guidelines for Remembrance Day and seasonal parades. Masks should be worn if two meters between people cannot be maintained and must be worn when singing, clapping or dancing. Consider clapping and waving instead, suggests the health unit.

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Indoor public events and social gatherings are limited to 25 people. Proof of full vaccination is required to enter the legions, the health unit confirmed.

There is a separate outdoor gathering limit of 100 people for social gatherings that are not organized public events, with a few exceptions. Live streaming or recording of events and speeches is suggested.

Remembrance Day ceremonies in Owen Sound will be closer to pre-pandemic services, with a parade and chants as part of a “full ceremony,” said Anne McCallum, Legion Poppy President and First Vice-President. president. Rogers TV will broadcast the event.

“We can sing O Canada this year, we can sing all the hymns. But we have to wear a mask.

However, most older veterans and members of the Legion will not be attending in person, given the continuing threat of COVID for their particular age group. The Air and Army Cadets will not come due to the virus threat and will be missed as well, McCallum said.

A parade along 1st Avenue East to the cenotaph will begin around 10:45 a.m. – not along Main Street and around the cenotaph like in pre-pandemic times. The Legion Executive, Flag Guard, Police and Fire Departments and some Gray and Simcoe Foresters who have requested to join will be in the parade, as will some members.

Up to 100 people are allowed, more than last year, McCallum said.

Eighth Street East will be closed from 2nd Avenue East to the Rainbow Crosswalk so that people can watch the service, masked if they cannot stand two meters from others besides their families.

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About 80 wreaths will be laid in advance but a number more will be laid by dignitaries and others.

“It’s been 100 years since a poppy became the symbol of remembrance,” said McCallum. “So this is a pretty important year for Remembrance Day. So it’s pretty good that we can open up a bit, ”she said. “Last year we just told everyone to stay home. “

In Port Elgin, Norma Dudgeon said the Remembrance Day service will be open to everyone. But there will be no parade and many wreaths will be pre-deposited. People should keep their masks handy in case they cannot stand two meters apart, she said.

Older members of the Legion and some others may stay at the Legion and attend the ceremony. A local church will be broadcasting the event live on https://www.youtube.com/southportchurch.

“Right now, we are still in the middle of a pandemic. But the province opened it for Remembrance Day ceremonies. But we’re still very, very careful, ”said Dudgeon, the chairman of the ceremonies.

It was up to the school officials whether or not to send students to the cenotaph ceremony and so far she has not heard if there are any coming.

With the lifting of public attendance restrictions, a parade is now included in the Wiarton ceremony for a few Legion members and the Color Guard, Legion spokesman Joe Vanderzand said. “But we keep our parade to a minimum. We do not contact the guides, the scouts. “

They will walk two blocks on Main Street, which will be closed, from the Legion to the Cenotaph, sing O’Canada and have a service. The event will be broadcast on the Wiarton Legion Branch 208 Facebook Live account.

Thereafter, anyone doubly vaccinated is invited to attend the legion, until the limited capacity of COVID is reached, Vanderzand said.

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About Ethel Nester

Ethel Nester

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