Rod Booth playing the bagpipes at Saturday ceremony in Westholme. (Photo by Sherry Deptuch)

Rod Booth playing the bagpipes at Saturday ceremony in Westholme. (Photo by Sherry Deptuch)

Veterans’ Remembrance cross placements continue with volunteers despite the pandemic

All Saints’ Anglican Church Cemetery in Westholme among the sites

The ongoing COVID-19 situation meant changes to the Cowichan Valley’s tradition of placing veterans’ Remembrance crosses decorated with cedar and a poppy on the graves of veterans in local cemeteries.

“Unfortunately, the Air, Sea, St. John’s Ambulance and other cadets who normally do the placements and salutes will not be able to participate, and organizers have been asked to avoid holding the cross placements as public events,” noted organizer Mike Bieling of the Old Cemeteries Society.

“Despite these restrictions, organizers are pleased to announce that the cross placements will continue for 2020, with parent, cemetery and community volunteers stepping in to decorate and set up crosses.”

The process was to be completed at all locations by Nov. 5. Bieling encouraged everyone to visit one of the community’s cemeteries to see the crosses in place through Remembrance Day and the end of the month.

Included on the list was the All Saints’ Anglican Church Cemetery in Westholme. Cross placements were done there by the All Saints’ crew on Saturday. A few locals attended, maintaining social distancing for a low key event.

The Chemainus Legion also went ahead last week with its cross placements at St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Cemetery (Chemainus Cemetery).

Crosses were placed at other cemeteries around the Cowichan Valley.

“All has gone very well, thanks to the community support for the tradition shown by the volunteers who turned out in response to my appeal on the Cowichan, My Valley Facebook page to take over for the usual uniformed participants,” summed up Bieling. “It’s good to know that even in a situation like the pandemic, we can depend on others to step up to honour our veterans’ service.”

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Mike Bieling conducting cross placements at Westholme Saturday. (Photo by Jo’Anne Yearley)

Mike Bieling conducting cross placements at Westholme Saturday. (Photo by Jo’Anne Yearley)

Mike Bieling of the Old Cemeteries Society doing a cross placement in Westholme. (Photo by Sherry Deptuch)

Mike Bieling of the Old Cemeteries Society doing a cross placement in Westholme. (Photo by Sherry Deptuch)

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