Wreaths will already be laid around the cenotaph before people arrive at the ceremony. Photo: Chelsea Novak

Wreaths will already be laid around the cenotaph before people arrive at the ceremony. Photo: Chelsea Novak

Scaled-down Remembrance Day event to take place in Rossland

The public is encouraged not to attend ceremony this year due to the COVID-19 crisis

A scaled-down Remembrance Day ceremony will be taking place at the Rossland Cenotaph at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11.

The public is encouraged not to attend the event this year as there’s not enough space for physical distancing and out of respect for veterans.

One major change to this year’s event is the cancellation of the iconic parade to the cenotaph.

“We would typically have the 44 Squadron from Trail, a band and dignitaries gather at the Rossland Legion and march down Washington Street and Columbia Avenue to the cenotaph,” said legion president Aussie Ray.

“Flaggers would mark areas off for the parade and hundreds of people would watch us along the streets. This year we won’t be doing any of that.”

Once the event starts at the cenotaph, the Canadian flag will be lowered to half mast and names will be read out of the Rosslanders who fought in past wars and those who donated wreaths.

Wreaths will be collected and put down around the cenotaph before the ceremony begins.

Unlike past years, people will have to lay their own poppies on a set of crosses around the cenotaph.

“We normally have the cadets and boy scouts lay the poppies, however they weren’t able to do that this year because of the pandemic,” said Ray.

A piper and bugler will still play the The Last Post, O’ Canada and God Save the Queen to commemorate all of the soldiers.

Staff are going to open up the legion on Oct. 30 and 31 and conduct a trial run to see if they can open it on Remembrance Day.

“I’ve essentially slept in the place for the last three weeks to clean it up. I’ve installed plexiglass and separated all of chairs and tables from one another,” said Ray.

“We’re very aware that if someone sits at a six-seat table, no one can sit around them unless they’re in a group.”

Staff wouldn’t allow more than 50 people inside the legion and they’d also be collecting people’s personal information for the unlikelihood of contact tracing if it opened up.

Despite the pandemic, Ray said he’s just happy to be able to continue commemorate all of the soldiers in some fashion this year.

“There’s a ton of people in Rossland that have the names of their fathers, grandfathers, cousins and uncles on that cenotaph,” said Ray.

“We want to keep their memories alive and acknowledge the fact that they fought in those wars to give Canadians the freedoms that we enjoy today.”

Staff are hoping they can live stream the Remembrance Day event on Facebook so people can still watch it.

READ MORE: Over 300 Rossland residents celebrate Remembrance Day at cenotaph


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@castlegarnews.com

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