PHOTO BY MICHAEL PIRILLO / THE SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
Flashes of red poppies and chimes of “lest we forget” circle the air at the beginning of November for the heroes who served.
The Brantford community shows their respect for those honoured on Remembrance Day in an appreciative, yet safe manner.
The annual Remembrance Day ceremony will look slightly different this coming year. Due to COVID-19, an in-person service is just not possible. Thousands of attendees are asked to stay at home and honour those who graciously served—to protect everyone who was fought for.
Since the changes the City of Brantford has come up with ways to offer a memorable and honourable service.
The city usually organizes a “fly over”, that features old warplanes flying in a single line over the crowd at the cenotaph, but since there are restrictions on in-person public gatherings due to the pandemic, alterations had to be made.
In lieu of this, the planes will be circling the whole city, enabling everyone honouring the heroes to experience this delight from the safety of their own homes. From 11:20 a.m. to 11:35 a.m., the community will be able to “look up and remember”, as they see the warplanes fly over their houses.
“It’s a very touching, symbolic act, to incorporate something so dramatic into your Remembrance Day service … the citizens just genuinely appreciate and adore that aspect of the celebrations,” says Lori Dawn Cavin, manager of community recreation development in Brantford.
This year’s service is also offering a drive-by light display, which will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Nov. 10, and will last until the following morning at 7:00 a.m. This overnight experience will be a safe and socially distanced way to get a closer look at the cenotaph, and the beautiful exhibit the city has produced.
Throughout Nov. 11, the cenotaph will be a ghost town. There will be no usual gathering of thousands. Instead, a virtual service will be aired for viewing.
This service will be taking place in Ottawa, at the National War Memorial at 10:45 a.m., and will also have no in-person attendants. This service is easily accessible through every major television channel, as well as through a link on the City of Brantford’s website.
“Nothing was more important to those who gave their lives than keeping everyone safe. We can only respect the sacrifice these men and women have given by staying safe and respecting the guidelines to keep all those around us safe,” said third year English major, Brittany Blain.
In addition to virtual services, there will be video clips of past services released in commission of Remembrance Day offered throughout the day on Nov. 11. These clips will feature staples and importance of past ceremonies, broadcasting events such as the laying of the wreaths by past and present day dignitaries, emergency services and other organizations.
“The public understands. They understand that this is a unique year under unique circumstances. There is a sadness, but it’s not that people are angry. The public will understand that this is the year they’re going to pay their respects in a different way,” said Caven.
Although the community will be missing an in-person service, it is a necessary precaution towards the pandemic. Laurier Brantford students are very understanding toward the situation and acknowledge the circumstances.
“Coming together on Remembrance Day to honour our veterans is an important reminder of the sacrifices they made. However during these trying times its best for communities to hold these services remote, for the health of the entire community. Even physically separated we as a community should still support and pay respects to the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom,” said third year English major, Kendell Perchaluk.
Although services will be remote, the safety of the community is a priority. One of the main considerations in planning this affair was the safety of the vulnerable people, and finding a way to give a service just as lovely as an in-person ceremony would be.
Remembrance Day masks are also available to be purchased for $10 through the legion. The masks are decorated with red maple leaves and a poppy, which shows Canadian pride and honour for the heroic. Masks can be bought online at the poppy store, and come in either a small or large size. All proceeds go directly back to the legion, which then goes toward the community for future affairs the legion puts on. These Canadian made masks are very popular, stylish and will protect the people you are around.