By Lethbridge Herald on November 11, 2020.
Despite smaller numbers, veterans were honoured at this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony Wednesday morning at the Cenotaph at City Hall.
Due to COVID-19, people were urged to avoid crowds and instead view this year’s ceremony via the General Stewart Branch No. 4’s Facebook page — which a number of people took advantage of — but a little over 100 socially distanced spectators gathered at the Cenotaph to pay their respects.
No matter what the circumstances, Daniel Gosselin — who served for 36 years in the Canadian Armed Forces both as a member of the Canadian Airborne Regiment and as a member of the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Corps, said paying tribute to the fallen veterans remains at the forefront of Remembrance Day.
“I think, to me, the important part is the act of remembrance and giving them the time to take that moment and reflect on those who sacrificed their life in the service of our nation as well as the freedoms we have today.”
With Kent Perry as the Master of Ceremonies, the mounting of the Cenotaph vigil began the proceedings, followed by the a rendition of “O Canada” led by Sarah Folden.
Following the last post by John Van Dyck was a two-minute silence and a fly-past in a Harvard MK IV by local citizen Geoffrey Brayne.
After the lament by John Gray and the Act of Remembrance, Sandy Scheldrup placed the wreath on behalf of bereaved mothers, followed by the laying of wreaths by local organizations.
Following the Prayer and Benediction by Rev. Dr. Wayne Grant Driver C.D., Folden closed the ceremony with “God Save The Queen.”
Despite the lower numbers to keep in line with pandemic protocols, Gosselin appreciated the crowd which braved the chilly weather to watch from a distance.
“What touched me today is I looked over my shoulder and there was a young family there and (what) went through my mind is it because they have a member of their family that is connected to the military or is the father an ex-serviceman himself? But it was quite touching to see them. The numbers weren’t there, but it just takes one to realize there are others out there remembering.”
Gosselin is also on the Poppy Committee with the Legion and in charge of Tag Day, which kicked off the Poppy Campaign Oct. 31.
This year’s campaign took on a different look due to the pandemic with the public able to make donations online through the Lethbridge Legion website as well as by text message or in-person, but Gosselin credited the community for chipping in during a trying time.
“This year’s Poppy Campaign obviously had to take into account the environment,” he said. “We weren’t sure what kind of effort we were going to be able to do, but the local community really came forth despite putting a reduced number of individuals out with poppy boxes and poppy boxes at the different businesses. We’ve had a great response and support.”
As of Wednesday, Gosselin wasn’t sure if this year’s Poppy Campaign was on par with past years, but said for him it’s always comes down to the act of remembrance.
“It’s about people getting a chance to get a poppy so they can wear it and do that personal act of remembrance throughout Veterans’ Week. Getting the donations definitely supports the local veterans, but we’ll weather through this period.”
Follow @DWoodardHerald on Twitter