We will remember them: Red Deer Remembrance services adjusted for safety protocols

Poppies and wreaths available through Red Deer Legion

Like much of 2020, Remembrance Day will look a little different this year.

While we won’t gather in large numbers at the cenotaph, Nov. 11 remains a time to reflect on veterans’ sacrifices, remember their significant contributions, and consider what the day has stood for through the years, says Bev Hanes, president of the Red Deer Legion.

“We’re encouraging people to mark Remembrance Day at home with their families. After all, it isn’t about where you are, it’s simply important that you do remember,” Hanes says.

Due to COVID-19 safety protocols and the Red Deer Legion’s focus on keeping Veterans, members and the community safe, the branch will not host a formal Remembrance Day service. The Poppy Campaign will also be much reduced during Remembrance Week, Nov. 5 to 11 – though the need remains the same, Hanes notes.

Instead of the two-day Poppy Blitz that traditionally kicks off Remembrance Week, and the availability of poppies at numerous locations, this year, businesses are asked to contact the Legion directly if they want Poppies available on site. This move recognizes that space is at a premium at many businesses with the added Plexiglas and cleaning protocols.

However, the Poppy Campaign Office will be open at the Red Deer Legion and volunteers will be available at the Branch to assist with requests for poppies and wreaths as usual. Direct donations are also much appreciated, in light of the reduced campaign.

“For someone who, as a teen, stood on downtown Red Deer corners with poppies for donations, and went door to door in competition with others to garner the largest donation totals, downsizing this year’s Poppy Campaign is quite a change,” Hanes says.

We Will Remember Them

In addition to poppies, wreaths are another symbol of remembrance people are encouraged to display in their stores, on front lawns or at cemeteries on Veterans’ grave sites. These small acts are meaningful in helping us to remember the sacrifices of all Veterans, those currently serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, and RCMP members.

At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 11, several members of the Red Deer Legion executive, Poppy Committee and members will lay wreaths on behalf of the Legion Branch and Ladies Auxiliary, and all dignitaries and others as requested.

Founded after the First World War, the Legion is Canada’s largest Veterans’ and community support organization, with membership approximately 275,000 strong. The Legion assists Veterans in need, provides a place to socialize and honours those who have passed away, relying on volunteers to carry out all initiatives – including Remembrance activities.

”When we place Canadian flags on Veterans’ gravesites in early June, it is truly amazing to see how many Veterans lived in Red Deer and our surrounding community,” Hanes says.

On Nov. 11 let us reflect on what Remembrance has stood for over the years and thank all those who have sacrificed their time and lives for this continual search for peace and freedom.

Red Deer Legion is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the Poppy Campaign office volunteers will be available until 4 p.m. daily. For more information, call 403-342-0035 or email president@legion35.ca

Remembrance DayRoyal Canadian Legion