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Like everything else in this year of 2020, Remembrance Day is being impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Hay River, the ceremonies at Branch 250 of the Royal Canadian Legion will take place, but in a limited way because of capacity restrictions.

That will no doubt be the same for Remembrance Day observances across the country.

Over the years, the event in Hay River has been well-attended, and it clearly demonstrated the significance of Remembrance Day to the people in this community.

That importance will not be diminished by Covid-19, even as the official observances are being scaled back in the name of safety.

So this year’s Remembrance Day will become more of a personal observance than in years past.

Vince McKay, the president of Branch 250, has suggested that people watch the ceremonies on the Hay River Legion’s Facebook page, and observe Remembrance Day in their own homes in their own way.

That is obviously the best that can be done in the unusual situation created by Covid-19.

And of course, people can and should wear poppies. That seems the least that they can do.

If you think about it, Remembrance Day can also serve as an inspiration to help people get through the Covid-19 pandemic that the NWT, Canada and the world are facing.

The pandemic is unnerving and scary, and people are looking for any indication that things may be getting better sometime in the near future.

On Remembrance Day, we recall the sacrifices during times of war, which are also stressful, scary and dangerous.

Of course, a pandemic and a war are different in many ways. For example, a pandemic is a natural thing, while a war is a man-made disaster. And for Canada, the World Wars were fought in other lands, while the coronavirus has invaded our country.

But there are lessons to be learned from a war effort that can be valuable in a common effort to fight a pandemic.

A war effort needs just about everyone in a society to help out in some way, and that is the same in fighting a pandemic. Now, people should be wearing masks, keeping social distance, washing their hands often, and more. That seems like not too much to ask compared to what would be required during war.

A war effort also requires sacrifice. On Remembrance Day, we honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

People also have to sacrifice to fight a pandemic, although not nearly on the same scale as during war. Because of Covid-19, people have not been able to live their lives as normal, including not being able to travel as easily as in the past.

A war effort also requires bravery and steadfastness in the face of danger for a society to carry on in tough times. Bravery and steadfastness can also help us through today’s challenge of Covid-19.

One other lesson we can take from Remembrance Day is that all wars eventually end.

And this Covid-19 pandemic will eventually end.

That offers some hope for today as we remember much darker times in our history.

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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