Powassan Legion to hold low-key Remembrance Day ceremony

·2 min read

Powassan will have a Remembrance Day ceremony, but it's going to be a low-key affair.

Branch 453 president Ron Smith says the first notable difference is there won't be a parade either by legion members or the Canadian Armed Forces.

Smith says the public can blame the COVID-19 pandemic for the cancellation.

In addition, dignitaries normally invited to take part in the annual ceremony are still invited, but they won't be laying down any wreaths.

“The wreaths will be pre-laid at the cenotaph,” Smith says. “The dignitaries will be lined up along the sidewalk and when their names are called, they'll go up to the cenotaph, pay their respects then return to the sidewalk.”

Smith says the public is not being invited to this year's ceremony.

But he acknowledges that since the ceremony takes place in a public area, people can't be stopped from showing up.

If people do come to watch, he urges them to wear masks and to maintain some form of social distancing.

Kathie Hogan, the municipality's events coordinator, says the ceremony will be live-streamed on Nov. 11 so people don't have to be at the cenotaph. Go to Facebook and type Events@250Clark to watch the event.

“It really hurts on a personal level that we can't ask our community members to be present,” Smith concedes.

“This isn't something we want to do, but it's something we have to do.”

Smith says his memories of local Remembrance Day ceremonies go back 50 years and he believes this is the first time over that period that there won't be a parade.

He says it's unfortunate. But at the same time, Smith acknowledges the legion can't afford the chance that its ceremony could result in someone contracting the coronavirus.

“We have the people to think about,” he says.

Smith doesn't believe the men and women who died in past wars would want to see people today stricken by the virus because they attended a legion event.

“If they were here, I'm sure they'd say COVID regulations take precedence,” he says.

“I don't think they will want to have died for nothing. I think they would want people to be in good health.”

The legion will hold its Remembrance Day ceremony at both the cenotaphs in Powassan and Trout Creek at 11 a.m. Nov. 11.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget