Because of the pandemic, Remembrance Day and the Poppy Campaign, leading up to Nov. 11, will have a very different look this year.
The Poppy Campaign, traditionally run from the last Friday in October until Nov. 11, will move forward, but with few or no veterans and volunteers standing outside businesses offering poppies. Fear of transmission to the public, as well as the senior age of many of the volunteers, has discouraged many from participating.
Dave Carson, chairman of the Poppy committee, says the Legion will still have poppy boxes available in select locations, including Canadian Tire, No Frills and Tim Horton’s restaurants. Locations with volunteers offering poppies have yet to be confirmed.
“Poppies are always available at the Legion after Oct. 30,” said Carson. “All people are welcome to come down to the Legion and get a poppy, or just come.”
Carson said that poppies are distributed by the Legion, but never sold. Donations are gratefully accepted and any monies collected are used to support programs funded by the Legion branches. These programs include, but are not limited to, funding services for veterans, soldiers currently in service, the RCMP and all of their families, offering care and housing for veterans who are aging, disabled or homeless and bursaries for the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of veterans. Last year, the Kincardine Legion saw $32,000 donated during the campaign.
Carson says a mail-out program has been created and should be in local mailboxes by Oct. 30. Businesses who would like to have a poppy box inside their store and have not yet been contacted can call the Kincardine Legion at 519-396-2372.
Gone, too, this year is the gathering for Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Legions in Kincardine and the cenotaph in Tiverton.
A ceremony will be held on Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. in Tiverton at the cenotaph, and on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. in Kincardine at the Legion. Both will be filmed and streamed on Facebook. The public has been asked not to attend either event, in accordance with provincial gathering restrictions.
“Spectators are discouraged,” said Carson. “We will block off the entrances for Legion properties.”
The gathering and meal, hosted in the Legion after the ceremony on Nov. 11, has been cancelled.
People can still purchase wreaths to place at the cenotaph, and can order until Nov. 10 by contacting the Legion at 519-396-2372. The 14 inch wreath is $50. Wreaths, with the exception of a few, will be laid at the cenotaph before the ceremony, to limit the number of people at the event and the chance of spreading the virus.
In Ripley, Legion directors have made several changes to their ceremony to accommodate restrictions resulting from the pandemic.
Secretary Anne Finlayson said boxes will be placed in the same locations as in previous years so people can pick up a poppy and donate to the fund.
The parade leading up to the ceremony has been cancelled and attendees will arrive at the cenotaph instead in their own vehicles. At the cenotaph, Legion members will gather on the west side, closest to the church. The public may attend, and are asked to stand on the other side on the sidewalk.
Wreaths have already been ordered, and except for those that pertain to the Legion, the Dominion of Canada and Province of Ontario will be placed at the cenotaph before anyone arrives.
The piper will be absent this year as will children from the elementary school.
Masks are required of anyone in attendance. The ceremony, on Nov. 11, will begin at 10:45 a.m.