As has been the theme of the year with having to cancel events and celebrations, this year’s Remembrance Day will also see smaller-than-usual celebrations.
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch in Burns Lake has decided to pare down this year’s celebrations however as per a letter dated Aug. 28 from the Legion Dominion Comand, a celebration of some sort, that is not virtual, to honour the fallen is a necessity.
“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 ending of the Second World War,” says the letter.
In accordance with the command’s message, the local legion will be doing a short presentation at the outdoor Cenotaph at CNC between 10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., with a limited number of people in attendance. There will be wreathes pre-placed, representing the Federal Government, Provincial Government, Regional District of Bulkley Nechako, Village of Burns Lake, Burns Lake First Nations, Royal Canadian Legion, Burns Lake Fire Rescue, BC Ambulance, SD 91, Widows and War Mothers, Peace Keepers and Veterans of all Wars.
Cadets and other youthful organizations have been prohibited from attending ceremonies anywhere in the country.
Usually, after the ceremony, the legion brings everyone together to enjoy some food however this year, there will be no food after the ceremony and the legion will continue to remain closed after the ceremony according to president of the Royal Canadian Legion Jim McBride.
The local schools in the village will also be doing their own versions of honouring the fallen. According to SD 91 assistant superintendent Mike Skinner, “Because of health limitations on holding school assemblies, each site with host a virtual ceremony to share the program to all classrooms. Each school will develop their own program to create a unique ceremony.”
Over in Granisle, the community will be honouring and celebrating on Remembrance Day in a smaller ceremony as well. According to Mayor Linda McGuire, “It has always been a significant event in our community to pay tribute to those who served our country. However it will be modified celebrations this year due to Covid with only the wreath laying at the cenotaph and flag raising with the RCMP.”
McGuire also said that there would be minimal participation with only those laying the wreaths and others would be encouraged to remain in their vehicles if they wish to observe the wreath laying or exercise social distancing if outside their vehicles.
“As opposed to other years when the community would come together at our Seniors Centre for a luncheon following the wreath laying we have, sadly, made the difficult decision to cancel the luncheon as the risk is simply too high to gather indoors in a large group, following the Covid Provincial directives,” said McGuire.
The 2020 National Remembrance Day Ceremony will also be performed live at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, on November 11.