It was a quick and quiet Remembrance Day ceremony at Aldergrove legion branch #265 – COVID-19 restrictions barred attendees from coming to pay their respects at the annual service.
A few watched in household clusters from the other side of the street while some did come to the parking lot; barricades separated the handful of spectators from those taking part in the program.
Livestreamed at 10:50 a.m. on Facebook, president Doug Hadley led the program, which included bugler Art Black, piper Ronin Terry, and a flag procession.
Champlain Rev. Paul Guiton gave the invocation prayer and addressed viewers by recounting how he had seen people nearly come to blows over physical distancing measures or how others are citing “freedom” as a reason not to wear a mask.
He asked what our fallen soldiers would think of those choices, comparing their sacrifices to what people must now sacrifice for the greater good.
Ten wreaths were laid on behalf of representatives, including Kim Houlind, representing the government of Canada, Counc. Blair Whitmarsh for the Township of Langley, and MLA Elect Bruce Banman on behalf of the province of B.C.
Banman told the Aldergrove Star that he was honoured that this was his first official act as MLA since his election win.
Thirty-seven other wreaths were pre-laid to limit attendees and interaction.
Aldergrove veterans and legionaries who had recently passed were honoured in an annual call to those who do not answer; those names included George Art Moore, Hugh Buckley, Bill Cutres, Doug Deegan, William Ross, Ken Askin, Grand Ward, Edward Mills, James R. F. Podger, J. Earle Law.
Hadley said the ceremony was totally different than the ones he had seen in the past 70 years.
“Usually the Remembrance starts with a parade, then the ceremony including the laying of wreaths and then socializing with veterans, friends, associates and family,” he explained. “This year, no parade, and no socializing.”
He did say the livestream appeared to have been received with favourable response.
”I hope that next year will allow for the public to attend and our traditional celebrations return,” Hadley added.
In one mainstay from previous years, Fraser Blues Formation Flying Team soared above Langley in their annual fly-by tradition.
The ceremony closed with an invitation to personally come to the cenotaph throughout the afternoon to pay respects once crowds had dissipated.
The ceremony annually draws crowds of more than one thousand, which has included a parade and gathering at the legion lounge in the past.
The lounge will be closed to the public on Nov. 11.
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