We will still remember, even if we have to do it in smaller groups or from home.
That is the message coming from the Sicamous Legion as they launch their 2020 poppy campaign and plan for a modified Remembrance Day ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legion will officially begin selling their poppies as part of the usual fundraiser benefiting veterans and their families on Friday, Oct. 30; the ceremonial first poppy was presented to Mayor Terry Rysz on Oct. 16.
Legion president Bill Moore said the usual poppy trays would still be placed at the front counter of businesses that would allow it, but some usual supporters like BC Liquor Stores would not be allowing the trays as a safety precaution. Moore said the volunteers would be standing in front of some businesses selling poppies and would be protecting themselves using gloves, masks and hand sanitizer.
Volunteers are needed to both collect money and restock poppy trays and to sell poppies directly in front of businesses on Saturdays and Sundays leading up to Remembrance Day.
The Remembrance Day service itself will still be going forward, but Moore said it will look different from previous years. Physical distancing recommendations will require a more physically distanced out crowd, further from the cenotaph. Moore said the legion would prefer that people take in the live-stream of the ceremony being offered this year from their homes. Some of the usual features of the ceremony, including the colour parade and participation from cadets, will not be happening, but otherwise it will stick to the usual program.
“The service is scaled down a bit but we will remember and do what’s appropriate for Remembrance Day,” Moore said.
The social gathering held at the legion after previous years’ ceremonies will also have to be cancelled this year.
It was decided that a Remembrance Day event with Eagle River Secondary students was too important to skip. Moore said they are working out the details of putting something on for a smaller group of students, likely on Nov. 9. He said visits to the legion have been well received by students in the past.