The Chemainus Cenotaph service for Remembrance Day won’t be open to the public this year due to COVID-19. Royal Canadian Legion 191 Chemainus members will still be having an invite-only ceremony to mark the occasion. From left are: Mike Beggs, Wes Everitt, Janet Mitchell and president Len Lavender. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Chemainus Cenotaph service for Remembrance Day won’t be open to the public this year due to COVID-19. Royal Canadian Legion 191 Chemainus members will still be having an invite-only ceremony to mark the occasion. From left are: Mike Beggs, Wes Everitt, Janet Mitchell and president Len Lavender. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Remembrance Day ceremony a private service this year

Pandemic restrictions limit the crowd to 50 invited guests

People seem anxious to show their support for veterans and to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifices for our freedom, but COVID-19 knows no bounds.

As a result of restrictions necessitated by the pandemic, there won’t be a public ceremony on Remembrance Day at the Chemainus Cenotaph next Wednesday, Nov. 11. Instead, there will be a private ceremony limited to 50 invited people.

“There will be no walk-up and no parade,” said Janet Mitchell, Chemainus Legion 191 treasurer.

“There’ll be no seating, no chairs, no cadets,” added the Legion’s Wes Everitt.

In other words, it’ll be nothing like the usual and residents are certain to be feeling a little blue at missing the ceremony, especially since there’s been such a strong turnout during the last few years, in particular. But the local Legion doesn’t make the rules, a point Mitchell stressed.

“All health care protocols are enforced for COVID-19. We have trouble at the branch, people think they’re our rules.”

There’s no flexibility for provincial health orders due to the rising number of cases. The measures will be felt the most in large centres where the huge gatherings commonly seen won’t be happening.

“It’s across the country,” Legion 191 president Len Lavender reinforced.

Nothing can be done about the limited numbers.

“Even if they’re members coming in, they can’t bring in guests,” Everitt indicated. “It can only be their spouse or partner.”

“As an aside, we are going to have perimeter control,” noted Mitchell.

Legion members in Chemainus are suggesting an alternative for citizens. “Please can you stand on your doorstep at 11 a.m. and observe two minutes of silence,” urged Mitchell.

The Nov. 8 service at the Chemainus Cemetery is also private this year, limited to 50 people with social distancing and masks required.

Meanwhile, the desire to support the Legion’s Poppy Fund seems stronger than ever this year. The Poppy Fund supports veterans’ needs, the National Poster and Literary contest, the purchase of medical equipment and other approved donations in the community. The campaign in Chemainus started Oct. 30 and runs right through to Nov. 11.

“Volunteers have been out canvassing businesses for donations and wreath purchases,” noted Mitchell.

The wreaths will all be pre-placed at the cenotaph, rather than during the Remembrance Day ceremony.

The 49th Parallel Grocery in Chemainus and the Chemainus Public Market are the only places where personnel will be handling the poppies, but donation boxes have also been placed at numerous businesses around town.

“I think people have been very generous this year,” observed Mitchell.

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David Goatley’s mural in downtown Chemainus is very poignant and pertinent as Remembrance Day approaches. (Photo by Don Bodger)

David Goatley’s mural in downtown Chemainus is very poignant and pertinent as Remembrance Day approaches. (Photo by Don Bodger)