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A different 2020 Remembrance Day in Port Perry

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

SCUGOG: How Port Perry residents are able to observe Remembrance Day this year will be different than in past years.

“The public Remembrance Day services will not be held this year. Instead, the local Legion will place wreaths in advance at the Municipal Cenotaphs to commemorate this year,” read a press release from Scugog Township.

Normally, Port Perry Legion Branch 419 holds an event on November 11th which includes: veterans parading from the Scugog library to the Scugog municipal office; local citizens and organizations placing wreaths at the cenotaph; and a moment of silence.

However, due to concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, people are being encouraged to celebrate Remembrance Day in a different way. Scugog Township is encouraging people to watch a livestreamed ceremony, on the Royal Canadian Legion’s National Headquarters Facebook page.

“Join millions of Canadians at 11 a.m. in observing two minutes of silence to honour, remember, and thank all who served and sacrificed,” read the Scugog press release.

Port Perry Legion Branch 419 poppy campaign chair Anne Marie Christie said the local legion received advice from the legion’s national headquarters, but that wasn’t the only deciding factor in changing how Remembrance Day is celebrated this year.

“We took direction from them, but we also had a meeting with the Mayor and some people at the township. Before we even went out and said what we were going to be doing, we sat down with them, bounced some ideas off of each other, told them what we were hoping to do, and they told us what we were allowed to do, or what they thought we were allowed to do. It’s new for everybody in terms of the rules and mandates,” she explained.

Ms. Christie said she understands the need to prioritize protecting vulnerable community members from COVID-19. However, she added it’s not an easy decision to make or to take.

“We do find it’s disappointing for sure that we can’t do our parade and our service, and have everybody attend.”

Legion officials are expecting to see less revenue from the poppy campaign this year.

“The poppy campaign has already been off to a slow start. We’re having a hard time trying to get volunteers to go out and canvas. But most of the businesses in town took the poppy boxes, which is wonderful. We wouldn’t be able to do it without the businesses in town,” Ms. Christie said. “I think we were bracing ourselves that this was going to be a bad year for that for sure.”

People are encouraged to donate to the poppy campaign.

“We are still taking donations. If anybody wants to donate to the poppy fund, but don’t want to, or can’t, get out [in town], they can send a cheque to us at the branch here,” Ms. Christie said.

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