Tillsonburg Legion plans ‘different’ Remembrance Day ceremony

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There will be a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Tillsonburg cenotaph on Wednesday, Nov. 11.


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But the service, which traditionally starts at 10:45 a.m. will be different, said Dianne Hodges, president of the Royal Canadian Legion, Tillsonburg Branch 153.

“We’re going to have it live streamed,” said Hodges. “We’re working on getting it live streamed (by the Town of Tillsonburg) and Rogers is going to air it too (later in the afternoon).

“The Legion is urging people to remember in different ways this year, rather than people coming downtown. Even the national ceremony is by invitation only this year.”

“We’re doing it,” nodded Don Burton, chair of the Branch 153 poppy campaign, “but it is going to be different this year.”

Based on average attendance, which has been increasing in recent years, the local Remembrance Day ceremony will present a challenge staying under provincial COVID-19 limits for outdoor gatherings.

Hodges and Burton said will not prevent people from coming to the cenotaph ceremony, but they are encouraging people to instead watch it online.

“I don’t know how we can control it,” said Burton.

“People are still going to come and we understand that, but hopefully if they do come they will wear a mask and social distance,” said Hodges.

In past years the Remembrance Day service started about 10:45 am. following the 10:30 a.m. Silent Walk.

“There will be no Silent Walk this year because that’s a parade and we can’t do that,” said Burton.

Tillsonburg’s first Silent Walk 15 years ago, based on a walk in the Netherlands, was spearheaded by Carl S. Cowden, a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 153, who in September 2005 made a successful pitch to Mayor Stephen Molnar and Town Council for a special parade open to the community.

There will be two sets of wreaths this year, said Burton. Many of the 35-plus wreaths will be ‘pre-layed’ prior to the ceremony.

“At the actual ceremony we’re going to have federal, provincial and local municipal people laying wreaths, and the Legion, and any military.

“And I expanded it a little bit – I invited first responders, fire, police, EMS and the hospital to lay a wreath, live. They are frontline workers, they are part of the reason we can still do this.”

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