The public is being encouraged to recognize Remembrance Day from home this year.
Royal Canadian Legion branches across Norfolk County have either decided to hold small ceremonies or cancel their events altogether amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Simcoe, a small ceremony of 25 people will be held at the Carillon Tower. Attendees are by invitation only.
The ceremony will include select members from the Legion and Army, Navy, and Airforce along with members of local government, OPP, and a colour party.
“It’s a very drastically reduced ceremony from previous years,” Bryan Robertson, padre and president at the branch. “Dramatically different but because of this pandemic we just can’t take any chances.”
The Simcoe ceremony will be streamed online with the help of Norfolk County.
The Waterford event will also be running in a private manner. It will be live-streamed on the Waterford Legion 123 Catch the Ace Facebook page.
“Even during this socially distanced time let us not forget to pay respect to those who have given their lives for our freedom,” said the Facebook post about the event.
Port Dover branch of the Legion is also planning a scaled down version of the annual Remembrance Day service.
“This year in Port Dover, the Royal Canadian Legion Port Dover Br. 158 will be doing a very modified service at the Cenotaph. We will not be marching from the Legion to the Cenotaph, however we will have a small colour party, piper, trumpeter and our padre attend for a short service at 11 a.m.,” Wendy Mitchell, a representative for the Dover branch said in an email.
There will not be a wreath-laying ceremony in Port Dover, and anyone wishing to lay a wreath is asked to attend prior to the 11 a.m. start time of the service.
Spectators wishing to attend are asked to wear masks and follow social distancing rules.
In the past, Teeterville Legion has held its service on the Sunday before Remembrance Day. This year, the service will be held on Nov. 11 beginning at 10:45 a.m. with limited attendance.
The colour party, led by a piper from Br. 163 Pipes and Drums Hamilton will march from Teeterville Road, to the cenotaph where the pre-positioned wreaths will be laid.
The ceremony will be recorded and posted to the branch’s website and Facebook page. Those who usually attend in person are being encouraged to view the service online privately this year.
Delhi and Port Rowan have decided to cancel their ceremonies this year for the safety of the Legion members.
“With so many of our members vulnerable to this virus, we feel that this is the best course for our small town,” said a press release from the Delhi branch.
The Delhi Legion social media pages will be streaming the Ottawa ceremonies for members to pay their respects at home.
Wreaths will still be laid at the cenotaph, and those wishing to view the wreaths are asked to distance and wear a mask while attending.
“On November 11 at 11 a.m., the church bells of our town will ring,” said a release from the Port Rowan branch. “At that time we ask the community to join with us and observe two minutes of silence. If possible, please step outside onto your front step or sidewalk, and show your respect to our fallen comrades, and to those still serving.”
Members of the public will still be able to support the legion through the annual poppy campaign.