VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Remembrance Day is roughly a month away but organizers have yet to hear from provincial authorities if even pared-down plans have their approval.
“In Victoria, we have planned a very scaled-down ceremony. We submitted our plans back in August. They are subject to whatever the rules will be,” says Angus Stanfield, chair of Victoria’s organizing committee and vice-president of dominion command of the Royal Canadian Legion.
He says the service typically attracts up to 10,000 people at the cenotaph, which is located on the lawns of the B.C. legislature.
A much-trimmed down 15-minute ceremony has been planned and would include only a dozen people. A few ceremonial figures and dignitaries would attend.
“We’ve got a padre, a bugler and piper,” Stanfield says. “Our intention is to let only six people lay a wreath. Everyone who was invited says they will come if this can happen.”
He says early-on they knew some mainstays of the occasion weren’t going ahead.
“We scrubbed the parade way back. I think it was back in June that made the decision to cancel the parade. We just thought there was no way it was going to happen. That aspect of the plan was accepted. That was around the time that the military cancelled all parades.”
And how are veterans feeling about the situation?
“I think sad, but understanding. You feel sad but you accept it because the reason is genuine. We can’t congregate in groups,” he says. “Remembrance Day is a very emotional day of the year. There’s so much camaraderie.”
The intention is to have the brief ceremony broadcast live on a local TV station.
“I want everybody to still pause for two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. whether you watch it on your TV or walk at the end of your driveway. I think it’s so important to recognize the price that so many people paid to live in the best country in the world. There was quite a price paid for it,” says Stanfield.
The poppy campaign hasn’t been unveiled yet, either. The Legion is waiting for authorization to launch the annual fundraiser.
Stanfield says all of the poppies are ready to go and they have plans for only one volunteer to man poppy stands in malls.
He says the volunteers will wear masks and gloves and will stand behind barriers.