Shelburne Legion hosts scaled back Remembrance Day service

·3 min read

They didn’t march from the local Legion, the colour party was limited to three, and no cadets stood guard around the cenotaph, but the Shelburne Legion continued with their Remembrance Day ceremony honouring veterans who fought and died in the line of duty, with a scaled back approach amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are being honoured the way we should have been,” said Lesa Peat, President of the local Legion about Wednesday’s service.

The small group of 25 invited veterans, Legion members, and a few of the Town’s officials gathered outside of Shelburne’s Town Hall on Nov. 11 to take part in the scaled-down Remembrance Day ceremony.

“It’s critically important that we still come out here and hold the ceremony in remembrance for our fallen heroes,” Mayor Wade Mills told the Free Press. “It certainly is a different year due to COVID-19, but in some ways I do think that it presents an opportunity for people to take a little bit of extra time to reflect on things a little more personally than they might if they come out to a (bigger) service.”

During the ceremony a reading of the poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae was done, as well as reading of names for local veterans from the the First and Second World Wars who have passed away since 2000. While many of the wreaths were already laid around the cenotaph prior to the ceremony, six were laid during the ceremony.

“The uncomfortable things that we’re going through right now, in this effort against COVID-19, they’re difficult and a lot of people are having a hard time dealing with it, but let’s keep some perspective,” said Mills to the crowd. “Let’s keep in mind that what we’re going through now is certainly in no way or in no measure even close to what these folks had to endure when they were fighting for our freedoms.”

While the official Remembrance Day ceremony was limited to those invited, a crowd of community members gathered across the road to watch the memorial ceremony and take their moment of silence – many who said they were there remembering family.

Beatrice Chaney, a Shelburne resident who attended the Remembrance Day memorial, told the Free Press that she had four uncles that died in the war.

“I feel even though with the restrictions, that is very important to pay respect to the people from the war,” said Chaney.

Local business Crewson Insurance said that they had closed their business so that staff members could attend the service, as they do every year.

“We’ve always come here and we wanted to carry on the same tradition of coming to the service, even though we couldn’t go to the Legion this year,” said Wendy Crewson.

Despite the scaled-down ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions, local veteran Willis Potter, who served in the military from 1953 to 1956 called yesterday’s ceremony “beautiful”.

Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press