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COVID-19 to impact Remembrance Day ceremonies this year

Above image: Ottawa, Сanada – November 11, 2012: The National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Memorial covered in Poppies after the Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa, Canada

COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of Canadian life and has presented challenges to modern society as never before seen.

“Nonetheless, Remembrance Day 2020 is an important, solemn day that we – like all Canadians – will observe with proper reverence and the utmost respect,” expressed Andrée-Anne Poulin, media relations national defence.

“For the first time, spectators will be discouraged from attending in person, due to the limited space and requirement to physically distance. Learn more about the anticipated changes,” stated the Royal Canadian Legion’s website.

This year, in-person participation by Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members will be limited and in accordance with local public health directives. Poulin notes this will be done on a case-by-case basis, and guidance is being disseminated down the various chains of command.

Friday afternoon, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Jonathan Vance, issued the following statement, “Remembrance Day 2020 will not look like previous years, but we can remain steadfast in our duty to remember.

“The CAF CWO and I will attend the national Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on your behalf. As some of you will be observing this day of respect at home with your family, I invite you to watch us virtually and to wear your uniform as a mark of respect. #WearYourUniform

“I also recognize that some within our ranks and veteran community may feel a greater sense of isolation this year. Reach out to them.

“We will remember.”

In addition to this, this year’s ceremonies will be scaled back as CAF participation will include an Honour Guard, the Central Band of the Canadian Forces, as well as sentries. All public health protocols will be closely followed to ensure a safe and respectful ceremony.

There will be no Veteran’s Parade, CAF Parade, the Colour Party will be reduced, and spectators are discouraged from attending.

In order to adhere to the applicable restrictions, individuals not directly involved in the ceremony are discouraged from gathering at this location and are invited to conduct the Act of Remembrance by alternate means.

“For the first time, spectators will be discouraged from attending in person, due to the limited space and requirement to physically distance. Learn more about the anticipated changes,” stated the Royal Canadian Legion’s website.

As the Legion organizes the national ceremony, people can find additional information about changes to this year’s ceremony on their website here.

Defence Team members who will be observing this day of respect at home with their family can watch coverage on TV or online or do something else that is meaningful for them.

“Regardless of the medium, all Canadian Armed Forces members continuously show their respect for veterans and their sacrifices. Like all Canadians, the CAF will never forget those who gave their lives to defend values that define our great nation,” said Poulin.

9 WAYS TO REMEMBER THE FALLEN ON REMEMBRANCE DAY

 

Junior Canadian Rangers & Cadets

While Cadets and JCRs will not be participating in-person, the Cadets and Junior Canadian Rangers HQ has been actively putting together virtual compilations of the reading of the poem Flanders’s Fields, and music recordings of Last Post, Reveille, A Lament, O’Canada, and God Save the Queen that are read/played by Cadets and JCRs. Above image: Members of the Colour Party and Honor Guard march at the beginning of the Veterans Candlelight Tribute, held at God’s Acre Cemetery, Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt, on May 26, 2016. Photo by LS Ogle Henry, MARPAC Imaging Services ET2016-0176-03

“In collaboration with the Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command, to ensure the safety of all who participate in our programs, it was decided that no Cadet or Junior Canadian Rangers in-person Remembrance Day activity participation will be authorized for 2020,” explained Poulin.

This applies to adults and cadets.

While Cadets and JCRs will not be participating in-person, the Cadets and Junior Canadian Rangers HQ has been actively putting together virtual compilations of the reading of the poem Flanders’s Fields, and music recordings of Last Post, Reveille, A Lament, O’Canada, and God Save the Queen that are read/played by Cadets and JCRs.

These recordings are for any Legion or community who wants to still have cadets/JCRs incorporated in their ceremonies.

She noted, usually, Cadets and JCRs from across the country participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies and activities as a way to acknowledge the bravery and sacrifice of those who served our country and acknowledge our duty to work for the peace they fought hard to attain.

This year, although cadets will not participate in in-person activities, they will continue to remember through virtual engagement opportunities and participate in virtual ceremonies where they can manage.

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Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

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