Remembrance Day 2020: services restricted in New Tecumseth

Sam Odrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
·4 min read

Beeton Legion, Branch 421

The Beeton Legion is having a small ceremony on November 11, limited to 25 selected Legion members to ensure a safe environment for all involved.

The general public is discouraged from attending and no parade, church service or dinner will take place. Military personnel won’t be in attendance and there will be no wreath laying ceremony. However, wreaths can be pre-laid by a member of the Beeton Legion.

"I feel bad that we're to discourage spectators but it's the time that we're in and we have to protect our members and veterans,” said Legion President Chris Miller.

“The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Board is recommending people stay home and watch televised ceremonies, watch the national one in Ottawa."

Miller told The Times, with the public unable to attend the ceremony, he hopes they take the time out of their day to pay their respect from home on November 11.

"Remembrance Day is the single most important day to the Royal Canadian Legion… for those that have served and those that are still serving,” he said.

"It's crucial for people to observe, it doesn't take a lot of time, it's November 11th at 11 o'clock and it will only last a few minutes. I think it's important for people to take that time out of their day and observe the moment of silence for those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Many Canadians are still serving today under peacekeeping missions and its equally important to recognize those individuals as well, Miller noted.

He said it’s also essential for the public to buy a poppy this year to show their respect. Legion members are unable to canvass in stores and only donation boxes are set up, making it more difficult to fundraise.

“Buying a poppy shows your respect for our veterans and all that money goes to veterans service and veteran causes, so it's crucial people continue to support the poppy fund as well as observing Remembrance Day,” said Miller.

Anyone who would like to donate to the Poppy Fund directly can mail a cheque to Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 421, Box 409, Beeton, ON L0G 1A0.

Tottenham Legion, Branch 329

The Tottenham Legion will be hosting a small ceremony with a group of 25 Legion members and veterans, in accordance with public health guidelines.

While the ceremony usually would bring about 200-300 people, this year the public is discouraged from attending to help stop the spread of COVD-19.

“It's going to be very low key, between the four people in the colour party, myself, the poppy chair, the bugler,” noted Tottenham Legion President Gary Brown.

He said people can drive by the Tottenham Cenotaph at 11:00 a.m. to observe the moment of silence but won’t be able to exit their vehicles due to safety concerns.

Wreaths will be placed prior to the Remembrance Day Ceremony

For the Poppy Campaign, Brown said there’s no canvassing, only poppy boxes and there won’t be any contactless tap machines (activated by debit/credit card) for the poppies, which are being advertised.

"So, all these tap machines people are going to be looking for are not there, it's a trial thing just for Ottawa and Toronto,” Brown explained.

He said he encourages the public to watch out for their poppy boxes in stores and donate to support veterans.

Alliston Legion, Branch 171

The Alliston Legion won’t be holding a Remembrance Day ceremony this year out of safety concerns surrounding COVID-19.

"It's sad that it's had to come to this but we have to think of people’s health,” said Alliston Legion President Maryann Edwards.

Wreaths can be purchased from the Alliston Legion (111 Dufferin St. S) prior to November 11 and individuals can lay the wreath themselves anytime after 11:00 a.m. at the Cenotaph. To purchase a wreath contact the Legion at (705) 435-7922.

Edwards said she encourages the public to observe the 11th hour on November 11 from home.

"If at 11:00 o'clock they could do a moment of silence remembrance that would be awesome,” she noted.

There will be no canvassing by Legion members at stores in Alliston. Instead they will have a military boot or poppy boxes set up for people to donate.

“The other thing that we're thinking is if people would like to do a donation they certainly can and mail it to the branch,” Edwards noted.

All money raised through the Poppy Campaign goes towards helping veterans.

Sam Odrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times