Strong turnout expected for P.E.I. Remembrance Day services, Legion says

·2 min read
This series of banners in front of the Jean Canfield building in downtown Charlottetown honours Canadian peacekeepers who risked their lives on military missions around the world.  (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)
This series of banners in front of the Jean Canfield building in downtown Charlottetown honours Canadian peacekeepers who risked their lives on military missions around the world. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)

Despite the continuing threat of COVID-19, legions are expecting plenty of Islanders to attend this year's Remembrance Day services across Prince Edward Island Nov. 11.

Each legion branch on P.E.I. will handle their own Remembrance Day ceremonies, said Duane MacEwen, president of P.E.I. Command of the Royal Canadian Legion.

They may ask people to display their P.E.I. Vax Pass, which will allow for 1,000 guests outdoors, or adhere to previous restrictions, which ask people to maintain a two-metre distance with masking and cohorts, he said.

Some may also livestream their services, he said, and advised people to call their local legion branch and keep an eye for public service notices in newspapers as to how their local Remembrance Day service will be managed.

"I think we'll see an increase in people attending," MacEwen said.

"I really can see that there's an increase in requests for wreaths and poppies everywhere, so I'm sure that will spill over to the actual ceremonies."

MacEwen was one of several dignitaries attending a ceremony to launch Veterans' Week 2021 Friday in front of the Jean Canfield building in Charlottetown.

The legion in Charlottetown usually sees up to 5,000 people at the Remembrance Day ceremony at the downtown cenotaph, but is asking the public to stay home this year to prevent any spread of COVID-19.

They say it would be impossible to check that many vax passes or control exit and entrance points, and physical distancing and mask-wearing would be too hard to manage.

'A younger face'

Several colourful banners have been mounted on lamp posts in front of the building to honour Canadians who served on peacekeeping missions in the Persian Gulf, the Golan Heights and Egypt and other areas — stories Cardigan MP and Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay said many Canadians do not know well.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

"We know the stories of Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach — they are always part of the ceremony — but for generations Canadians have stood up for peace and democracy all around the world," MacAulay said.

The banners are displayed in Ottawa, he said, and this is the first time they've been put up outside the capital.

MacAulay said he wants more people to be aware of the missions as well as the better-known wartime battles of the world wars.

"What we're doing is trying to make sure that Canadians know more about their military history," he said.

He will be in Ottawa attending an event Nov. 11 run by the Royal Canadian Legion.

MacEwen said the new banners that reflect modern military service are meaningful.

"It's a new face, it's a younger face," he said.

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