COVID implications continues to plague special events, including the Remembrance Day services in Chemainus Thursday.
There will still be a ceremony at the Chemainus cenotaph, but the numbers able to attend are restricted. There’s a limit of 50 people, with most of that taken up with covered seating for veterans in addition to dignitaries, the colour party and Royal Canadian Chemainus Legion Branch 191 members.
The bottom line for the public is to watch from afar or stay home for personal observances.
“In the interests of our safety for COVID, we don’t encourage people to attend,” said Chemainus Legion 191 president Mike Beggs. “If they do, please obey the barriers.
“If you don’t attend, stop and observe two minutes of silence at 11 o’clock.”
In addition, “we don’t want to encourage young people who might be unvaccinated to attend,” said Beggs. “That’s dangerous itself.”
There won’t be a parade this year. The colour party will get in position at the Chemainus United Church to march into the cenotaph from there and also be dismissed afterwards in front of the church.
Chemainus Legion treasurer Janet Mitchell added there won’t be any walk-ups and wreaths are going to be pre-placed.
Everyone hopes this will be the last service with such restrictions and next year’s event can return to being the extra special tribute for our war heroes in keeping with tradition.
The weather conditions are expected to include possible showers, but be a lot better than what was experienced by Legion members attending Sunday’s Chemainus Cemetery Service, officiated by Rev. Michael Wimmer, where the rain literally poured down in buckets.
Those who served in wars didn’t have any choice about the weather so everyone was able to endure the downpour and cold conditions for the annual observance.
A total of 124 remembrance crosses have been placed at the cemetery this year, up nine from last year.
Peter Leckie was the piper and Brock Caplin the bugler for the brief, but poignant ceremony. Dave Munro, Don Gatward, Colin Murphy and Mike Beggs served as the colour party.
Meanhile, the poppy campaign in Chemainus on the 100th anniversary of the poppy is doing quite well, bolstered by a couple of $500 donations from the Crofton Paper Excellence mill.
Poppy chair Mitchell doesn’t expect donations will match last year’s total when special fundraising significantly increased the total.
“We’re hoping for about $18,000,” she said. “If we reach that, I would be really pleased.”