Fernie’s Remembrance Day Service will look slightly different this year, with a carefully curated live-streamed ceremony taking place at St. Margaret’s Cemetery on Nov. 11.
Despite limiting the ceremony to 50 invited attendees, Jennifer Cronin, past president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 36, assures the service’s significance and impact will be as powerful as ever.
“So many things have changed during Covid, and this is one of the things that has to change as well – but it gives us an opportunity to be with the fallen soldiers, standing in the Veteran’s Cemetery, at the time when we are remembering them, and that is really something special,” said Cronin.
Replacing the annual parade to the cenotaph, invited guests will take part in a motorcade, leaving the Fernie Legion at 10:35 a.m. and culminating at St. Margaret’s Cemetery.
At 11 a.m., the bells of Holy Family Church will ring for two minutes, marking the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, at which time local families are invited to stand in silence wherever they are.
“We really encourage people to take time out of their day to remember our veterans and the sacrifices they made,” said Cronin.
“No sacrifice is as great as the ones that were made by our veterans, but in this case, we have to make a sacrifice in not being able to have the big service. So even though we can’t be together, we will honour them the best way we can.”
Speeches will also be delivered at the service by Reverend Andrea Brennan and Jennifer Cronin, followed by a wreath laying.
Among the dignitaries invited to lay their wreaths will be RCMP officers, City of Fernie personnel, conservation officers, members of the Fernie Fire Department, representatives from the country and the province, and a Silver Cross Mother, who will lay a wreath on behalf of all Silver Cross Mothers that have lost their sons or daughters in service.
According to Cronin, the Fernie Legion encourages members of the community to honour veterans on Remembrance Day in whatever way is meaningful to them, whether it be taking a moment of silence at 11 a.m., cutting out poppies to put in windows, or placing flags on lawns.
“If every family chooses to honour them in some way – even if it’s just standing on their steps at 11 o’clock to hear the bells from the Holy Family Church ringing, having two minutes of silence, or watching the live feed so they can feel like they are a part of it – however they want to contribute, it allows us as a community to feel connected to our veterans.”
The public is also welcome to lay wreaths at the cenotaph throughout the day, being mindful of social distancing.
The Remembrance Day Service will be live-streamed for the community to watch on both the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 36 and The Free Press Facebook pages. Veterans unable to attend the ceremony are welcome to watch the service at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 36.
Following the ceremony, veterans, members, and service attendees will be invited to the Fernie Legion to share in socially-distant comradeship. The Legion will re-open at 3 p.m. for regular business.
Those seeking to purchase a wreath from the Legion or to inquire about poppies are to call Poppy Chair Person of the Fernie Legion, Beverley Skaalrud, at 250-278-0707.