VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The pandemic has affected how important events are celebrated this year, and observing Remembrance Day will be no different.
Virtual events around the Lower Mainland will be offering a way to pay respects to those who have fallen, served, and continue to serve.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII.
“For me personally it is really a milestone. Many of our veterans from the second war are gone. In fact, about 200 a year are dying, unfortunately. We only have maybe about 10 or 12,000 left and these men and women are slowly leaving us. They walk a little slower, they are a little on the vulnerable side,” says Cameron Cathcart, director of ceremonies for Vancouver Remembrance Day Committee. “We’re facing another war right now, as you well know — the pandemic war. It’s dreadful and it’s taking the lives of a lot of vulnerable people as well.”
While nearly 20,000 people would have gathered at the Victory Square Cenotaph in Vancouver on Nov. 11, the city will be holding a smaller ceremony Wednesday with 50 people. The cenotaph will be fenced off and only the official wreaths will be laid. The ceremony will be largely the same, with a few components missing this year only. People are encouraged to watch the virtual event or listen to the livestream rather than trying to attend in-person.
An online ceremony will be held at UBC from the War Memorial Gym.
Burnaby asks residents to observe the day from their homes by taking a minute of silence at 11 a.m.
The annual Coquitlam ceremony won’t be held at the Blue Mountain Park cenotaph. Instead, the city recommends a variety of options, including observing the day at home, watching or listening to the federal ceremonies on TV or online, or even reading more about the lives of Coquitlam soldiers in the city’s archives. Coquitlam encourages residents to look at ways to support veterans as well.
Delta will be offering a pre-recorded ceremony and observing the two minutes of silence with staff and patrons at city facilities. There won’t be any in-person ceremonies.
The New Westminster Museum also has a map of 19 local veterans. The city also offers heritage videos: World War I in New Westminster; World War II Years in New Westminster; World War II in New Westminster; Oral Histories of New Westminster Veterans.
An online ceremony will be held by the city in place of residents gathering at the city hall. Richmond also suggests placing a poppy in your window and discuss the importance of the day with friends and family.
A Facebook live ceremony will replace the in-person one at the cenotaph in Cloverdale. It will be streamed by The City of Surrey Facebook page and The Heritage Surrey Facebook page. The city asks residents to ensure seniors have access to the ceremony.
The city’s ceremony will be going virtual in collaboration with Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 8. The recorded ceremony will include traditional songs, reads, and two minutes of silence. Both the Legion and the city will be streaming it on their Facebook pages.
Langley City will also not be holding a public ceremony for Remembrance Day, but in place of the live ceremony, the city has produced a pre-recorded rendition of the Remembrance Day Ceremony. The video will be shared on the Remembrance Day Event Page Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.
This year the City of Mission is encouraging residents to “remember and honour the brave people who served Canada” by tuning in to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 57 Mission’s Facebook page Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. to watch a ceremony livestream.
The Royal Canadian Legion’s ceremony will be televised and streamed on its Facebook page starting at 10:45 a.m. For the first time, people are being discouraged to attend in-person ceremonies to ensure proper physical distancing in a small area.
The Canadian War Museum will also be organizing a livestream marking the day.
“The marvellous freedom that we all enjoy in Canada today is due to a lot of people … who sacrificed their lives or came back a little wounded, but they did contribute. And those who came back whole, they helped to build our country,” says Cathcart. “Sometimes countries have to stand up, and we have done so for the last 100 years or so and Canada’s like that. We have to remain resilient and we have to remain vigilant.”