Though many communities around Canada have decided to suspend their 2020 Remembrance Day services, to offer residents solace amidst a challenging year, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 81 decided to carry on with this year’s service, albeit with modifications respecting Covid guidelines.
“This year has been very alienating for people, and I think they need something that is normal,” said Irene Mills, Treasurer of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 81.
“This service grounds a lot of people emotionally, and I think it’s very important that they know that life is not changed in every way. This is modified, but it is very important that it is a tradition that happens. I think a lot of people find comfort in it.”
Deepening the significance of the Remembrance Day service for Sparwood’s community, according to Mills, many of the districts’s residents are connected to those who have fought in war, or have been in the service themselves.
“I think that (honouring the fallen soldiers) is what society is grounded on, and every generation should remember not to take for granted the freedoms that we have,” added Mills.
“You may feel that your freedoms are taken away from you because of Covid, but this is nothing. People gave their lives so that we have the freedom that we have now.”
Though Sparwood’s Remembrance Day service generally brings together hundreds of residents, only 50 attendees will be present at this year’s live-streamed event. This said, many traditions will be maintained, including the wreath laying and announcement of ‘In Memory Of’ dedications.
“We are keeping it to a minimal, but we have a lot of members that are pleased we will be calling their family names,” said Mills.
Mills furthered that many residents have purchased wreaths from the Legion for years, and find great meaning in hearing their dedication announced at the ceremony, even if the wreaths are laid in private or by Legion members this year.
“The formality of the ceremony is nice for people – I think it’s comforting that things are different but stay the same,” added Mills.
Anyone hoping to lay a wreath down may also do so privately at anytime on Nov. 11.
Residents of the district are also encouraged to pay their respect by creating Remembrance Day home window displays.
“Remembrance Day is about respecting the past, and I think that’s a big role of what the Legion plays in the community is just respect for seniors.”
Those interested in tuning in can find a link to the live-stream on the Sparwood Legion’s Facebook page, as well as the District of Sparwood’s Facebook page.