Remembrance Day service protocols vary greatly in our region
ST. THOMAS, ONT. -- One thing is universal as organizers look to finalize Remembrance Day plans in the region - the day will not pass unmarked.
But, that’s about the only commonality in the region’s largest centres.
In St. Thomas, for instance, a Remembrance Day service will go ahead, with only 10 people surrounding the cenotaph.
“We’re going to have a colour party with a bugler and a bagpipe player, and that’s pretty much it”, states Tony Bendel, the 1st vice-president of the Royal Canadian Legion, Lord Elgin Branch.
Beyond the invited few, Bendel says he “can’t believe” he’s telling people to not come, but amidst the pandemic, acknowledges it’s the only option.
“We’re telling people please don’t, so we are going to have this immediate area around the gardens here closed off. That way it’s only us”.
But the plan in St. Thomas does not necessarily reflect the plans of neighbouring communities. It turns out each one has a different way to honour veterans and the fallen during COVID-19.
In London, Remembrance Day committee chair, Randy Warden, says an invite-only service at the city’s cenotaph is still planned, but just how many will be there remains in a bit of flux.
As is the case in St. Thomas, he confirms barriers will be in place at the event.
In Sarnia, the city’s main cenotaph will not be utilized for the service.
Sarnia’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch 62 Vice-President Les Jones says the decision will ensure the public stays away.
Meanwhile, the location for the alternate service, of 25 people, will not be made public.
However, he says it will be streamed and broadcast on local media.
In Woodstock, an indoor, invite-only service is planned at Goff Hall, with the cenotaph utilized only for public wreath laying.
Back in St. Thomas, Bendel has a reminder for those looking to find a way to honour veterans, and the fallen at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the the 11th month.
“Novemember 11th, at 11 a.m., stop what you're doing. Just two minutes, no matter where you are, just take two minutes, just stop, think and reflect and then carry on.”
A reminder, you will be able to watch London's Remembrance Day service virtually. It will be streamed live on ctvlondonews.ca.