Canadian Ranger Sgt. Rob Wilkins stands guard during Remembrance Day ceremonies in 2018.
NNSL file photo

There will be a Remembrance Day ceremony in Hay River on Nov. 11.

However, the solemn observance – always well-attended in Hay River – will not be as usual because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Vince McKay, president of Branch 250 of the Royal Canadian Legion, said there will be a service.

“It’s not going to be fully open to the public,” he said.

Instead, a 25-person limit on the second floor of the Legion will mean the ceremony will be limited to some members of the Legion, veterans, active members of the military, a representative of the Town of Hay River, MLAs and service personnel, such as members of the RCMP, Hay River Fire Department, Coast Guard and Canadian Rangers.

“But other than that, we’re going to broadcast it live on our Legion Facebook page,” said McKay.

It is disappointing that attendance at the observance has to be limited, he added. “It’s not good by any way, shape or form, but we’ve got to be able to do something. So that’s kind of why we’re doing what we’re doing and broadcasting it on Facebook so the people that normally attend can still watch it and be involved.”

McKay noted that the Legion has applied to the office of the chief public health officer for an increase to 50 from the current limit of 25 people.

“That’s all we’re allowed indoors right now because of the public health order,” he said. “You’re only allowed 25 indoors unless you apply for an extension or permission, and we’ve done that. We’re just waiting.”

The Remembrance Day ceremony will start as usual at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 11.

Also as usual, it will include an honour guard of four Canadian Rangers, speeches and a moment of silence.

However, there will only be about four or five wreaths laid during the ceremony.

“And then all of the ones that have been purchased to present are going to be set up at the cenotaph already, and that way they’re there,” said McKay, referring to the monument outside the Legion.

McKay said he hopes that people observe Remembrance Day in their own way at home and pay their respects by watching the Hay River ceremony on Facebook.

“We’d encourage everybody that they watch and try to participate the best they can,” he said. “It’s still the same, essentially. It’s just they’re watching on social media.”

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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