An RCMP member salutes during a small Remembrance Day ceremony held by the Red Deer Legion at the cenotaph in downtown Red Deer on Wednesday. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer Remembers

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Remembrance Day ceremonies were much different in 2020

Remembrance Day 2020 will be remembered.

While it was not the grand tribute that many observers have become accustomed to over the years, with the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, events were small, intimate and impactful as ever Wednesday.

At the Red Deer Cenotaph, with socially distanced spectators and masks worn throughout, a small crowd gathered at a safe distance to witness the ceremony.

“Today and every day we honour the veterans. Whether active duty, discharged or retired or reserve. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two. This was a genuine world war, involving participants from around the world. For Canadian participants, the war started in the fall of 1939,” said Amanda Kerik, who helped organize the event on behalf of Red Deer’s Korean Veterans.

“To all veterans, past and present, home or abroad, we remember and we are thankful. Thank you for your service, your courage and your sacrifice for our freedom.”

After the ceremonial laying of the wreaths, veteran Don Holloway, Red Deer’s citizen of the year for 2020, read In Flanders Fields.

Holloway is believed to be one of the city’s last living veterans of the Korean War.

He was born in Port Blandford, N.L., and enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1951. He served as a combat engineer for a year during the Korean War, and in 1977, he and his family settled in Penhold.

The short event Wednesday came to a close with citizens laying their poppies at the base of the cenotaph.

Earlier in the morning, the Red Deer Legion hosted a small wreath-laying ceremony at the cenotaph, with several RCMP members, MP Earl Dreeshen and a few local MLAs.

Red Deer Legion president Bev Hanes, one of those in attendance, said even in these difficult times, it’s important we find ways and take time to remember those who fought for freedom.

“No matter what, you still have to do it. Remembrance is very important. If we don’t remember things, especially these men and women who served our country, then you don’t really respect much in society,” Hanes said.

Small ceremonies were held across the region, with some UN and former NATO soldiers also honouring members at the Alto Reste Cemetery in Red Deer.

Still, many ceremonies in central Alberta went virtual, were much smaller than usual, or cancelled entirely, because of COVID-19.

With the pandemic hitting record highs across the province in recent weeks, Premier Jason Kenney said in a statement about Remembrance Day that Albertans are facing a challenge similar to the Spanish flu, which arrived just as the First World War came to an end.

“Just as the Great War was ending, a deadly influenza struck the war-weary world. Just over a century later, we find ourselves facing the COVID-19 crisis, an echo of that early pandemic,” he said.

“We recognize, throughout history, that suffering and loss are universally part of human life. But so too are compassion, hope, faith and perseverance.

“As Albertans and Canadians, we can seek the light of better days through our time-honoured defence of freedom, democracy, human dignity and the rule of law.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Red Deer Legion president Bev Hanes carries a wreath during a small Remembrance Day ceremony held by the Red Deer Legion at the cenotaph in downtown Red Deer on Wednesday. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

An RCMP member lays a wreath during a small Remembrance Day ceremony held by the Red Deer Legion at the cenotaph in downtown Red Deer on Wednesday. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer Legion president Bev Hanes lays a wreath during a small Remembrance Day ceremony held by the Red Deer Legion at the cenotaph in downtown Red Deer on Wednesday. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Just Posted

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. A British Columbia company that feeds food waste to insects to produce pet food has received $6 million from the federal government for it’s new state-of-the-art plant just north of Calgary. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
B.C. company turning fly larvae into pet food gets $6M in federal funds

Fly larvae fed a mixture of food waste and agricultural byproducts

FortisBC is reporting record electricity usage as temperatures spike. (File photo
AltaLink seeks to refund extra $350 million over three years to Alberta customers

AltaLink submits proposal to Alberta Utilities Commission

Annamie Paul, leader of The Green Party of Canada and byelection candidate for the Toronto Centre riding, walks back to her car after greeting supporters on election night, October 26, 2020. Paul has spent most of the past 10 months holed up in her apartment, just like you. But that stationary, pandemic-induced state belies the sharp pivot her party is making as it manoeuvres to break the tether of a one-issue party and reframe itself as a fresh inheritor of Canada’s social justice tradition. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Annamie Paul charts new course for Green party — through crowded waters

Paul’s calls for guaranteed livable income, universal pharmacare and child care, and free post-secondary education

ATB Economics released new vehicle sales stats for November. (Contributed by ATB Economics)
2020 will be remembered as tough year for new car and truck dealers in Alberta

ATB Economics releases new vehicle sales stats for November

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

This screen grab from a Zoom call shows new New York Mets general manager Jared Porter Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (Zoom via AP)
Report: Mets GM admits explicit texts to female reporter

Another embarrassing development for the Mets

A man wearing a protective mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks near banners of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics are to open in six months on July 23. Interestingly, Tokyo organizers have no public program planned to mark the milestone. There is too much uncertainty for that right now. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Tokyo Olympics Q&A: 6 months out and murmurs of cancellation

Instead of a countdown celebration, the focus is on COVID-19

Fashion mogul Peter Nygard is shown during a bail hearing in Winnipeg on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in this courtroom sketch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tadens Mpwene - POOL
Canadian fashion mogul seeking bail on U.S. charges of sex trafficking, racketeering

Lawyers for the Attorney General of Canada say Nygard has a history of not showing up to court

Montreal Canadiens down Edmonton Oilers 3-1, sweep series

Montreal Canadiens down Edmonton Oilers 3-1, sweep series

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) loses the basketball as he tries to drive around Dallas Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein (33) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris O'Meara
Lowry leads the way as Raptors down the Mavericks for their third straight win

Lowry leads the way as Raptors down the Mavericks for their third straight win

Johnny Gaudreau’s goal and assist paces Flames to 5-2 victory over Canucks

Johnny Gaudreau’s goal and assist paces Flames to 5-2 victory over Canucks

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, on Dec. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Tory MP Sloan accuses party of hypocrisy over efforts to have him expelled

Tory MP Sloan accuses party of hypocrisy over efforts to have him expelled

Most Read