Blue Line

Small, pared down Remembrance Day ceremonies on Prairies and in North

November 11, 2021  By Canadian Press

Nov. 11, 2021 – Despite the first big snowfall of the season, hundreds of people attended an outdoor Remembrance Day ceremony in the Saskatchewan capital on Thursday.

The event at the cenotaph in Regina’s downtown Victoria Park was scaled back as Saskatchewan continues to deal with the highest weekly case rates of COVID-19 among the provinces. Attendees were required to wear masks.

A special acknowledgment was given to note the service of Canadian Forces nurses and medical technicians who are helping with the province’s COVID-19 response.

Nine of them, who have been working at Regina General Hospital, attended the ceremony and were applauded by the crowd. Several people went up to the military members, including registered nurses, to thank them.

Maj. Cory Vandewauwer has been posted to Regina since Oct. 26. He said he was humbled by the recognition.

“This day is not necessarily about us, so the fact that they did that was very nice,” he said.

Many cities had to pivot their Remembrance Day ceremonies as some provinces and territories continue to face a devastating fourth wave of the pandemic. Ceremonies were moved online or in-person events were more subdued.

The 38 Canadian Brigade Group held a virtual ceremony that included dozens of military members from the Minto Armoury in Winnipeg.

Col. Cameron Buchanan, hoping to spreading a message of unity, shared a piece of his family’s history. He spoke about how his father rarely talked about the Second World War or of the “horrors and challenges snipers faced on the front lines.”

But his father would often share one story about his sniper partner and scout known as Chief.

“He was an Oji-Cree man that knew all about living and surviving on the land,” Buchanan said. “He knew all about stealth and concealment. My dad often said that without (Chief’s) skills he probably would have been killed.”

Buchanan said the story became a valuable lesson for him as he served with many men and women over the years from different cultures and backgrounds.

“Welcome diversity. Learn from each other’s backgrounds and cultures, so that you can train and fight together as a diverse yet uniformed team serving this great country.”

Ed Moore, a 100-year-old war veteran who served as a navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force, marked the day at the Cameron Heights assisted living facility in Edmonton. He took time to think about “some friends, some that made it and some that didn’t,” he said.

Moore said the care home held a Remembrance Day ceremony earlier this week for all veterans. They also celebrated his upcoming birthday on Nov. 24.

A brief ceremony took place at the cenotaph in the plaza outside Edmonton city hall to replace the public ceremony that usually takes place inside.

Several ceremonies in Calgary were livestreamed, including the Field of Crosses Remembrance Day ceremony and a service at the Hangar Flight Museum.

In the North, children dressed in snowsuits lined with fox fur and Canadian Rangers wearing sealskin mittens watched as wreaths were laid outside the Royal Canadian Legion in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s ceremony was held outdoors only.

The annual ceremony included a parade from the city’s RCMP detachment to the legion, where officers were joined by members of the Canadian Armed Forces who are in town to help with an ongoing water emergency.

Nunavut commissioner and former premier Eva Ariak laid a wreath outside the legion, as did Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson and Nunavut MP Lori Idlout.

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