The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 36 hosted this year’s Remembrance Day Service on the morning of Nov. 11, beginning with a motorcade of vehicles that made their way to the Veteran’s Cenotaph at St. Margaret’s Cemetery.
“Under the circumstances, I felt that (this year’s ceremony) was very intimate and impactful,” said past president of the Fernie Legion, Jennifer Cronin.
“Being with those that served and have passed on added a level to the service that we have not seen before.”
In attendance were a number of dignitaries including RCMP officers, City of Fernie personnel, conservation officers, and representatives from both the province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada.
As the scenically snow-capped Three Sisters stood guard, this year’s service opened with the singing of O’Canada led by Fernie local Karl Schomann, followed by the playing of The Last Post.
The ceremony continued as the bells of the Holy Family Church rang at 11 o’clock, while attendees and residents observed two minutes of silence, followed by the playing of Piper’s Lament and Reveille.
The first dignitary to deliver a speech at this year’s ceremony was Fernie Legion Chaplain, Reverend Andrea Brennan, who also led the service in a prayer.
“We lament for the things that are not the same, a smaller gathering, a different location, those we wish could be here – guide us in remembering those who fought and died, those who returned wounded, and those who will never be the same,” said Reverend Brennan at the service.
The ceremony continued with a speech given by Cronin, who paid respect to Fernie’s fallen soldiers and honoured those who served.
“This is a Remembrance Day like no other, but is perhaps made even more meaningful as we stand today among those who served,” said Cronin in her speech.
“They lie in peace at our feet, and today we pay homage to their sacrifice.”
Honouring fallen comrades, invitees then laid wreaths on behalf of a number of organizations.
Among those who laid wreaths were the Fernie Legion, the Veteran’s Association, Veterans of Korea and Afghanistan, the RCMP, Canadian Forces, conservation officers, the Tobacco Plains Indian Band, and the Navy Cross.
The Mayor of Fernie, Ange Qualizza, also laid a wreath, as did a number of Fernie’s First Responders, government representatives, and Silver Cross Mother, Beverley Skaalrud, who laid a wreath on behalf of all Silver Cross Mothers.
This year’s touching yet socially distant ceremony culminated with a singing of God Save the Queen led by Schomann.
Cronin would like to recognize those who worked alongside her to successfully put together the adapted ceremony, including Oscar Nielsen, Pat Pierce, Peggy Simons, Beverley Skaalrud and Andrea Brennan.
Anyone looking to watch a recording of the service may do so on the Fernie Legion or The Free Press Facebook pages.