Remembrance Day ceremonies across the city will look different this year as organizers are asking residents to stay home and watch the ceremony as it is livestreamed from the cenotaph on 49 Avenue.
Typically, the event is hosted by Royal Canadian Legion members and hundreds gather for a service at the St. Patrick High School/Weledeh Catholic School gymnasium.
Much of that will be stripped down this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said Loralea Wark, Remembrance Day chair with the Legion.
Yellowknife Legion Branch 164 has provided a detailed schedule and explanation of Wednesday’s ceremony.
“For the city service, everything is going to be at the cenotaph,” Wark said. “So there is no parade, there is no city service at the gym and there’s no gathering at the Legion afterward for the public. So it is going to look a lot different.”
Although the event will begin at 10:45 a.m., as usual, Wark said the tagline this year is, “‘They serve us by going away from home and we serve them by staying home.’ So this year in 2020 we’re encouraging everybody to stay home to protect them.”
Flyover and bell-ringing planned
There isn’t expected to be wreath laying as per usual. Wreaths will be pre-positioned at the cenotaph and representatives of each organization will be asked to walk up individually to pay their respects.
“It’ll be just a regular act of remembrance basically so a few opening words and O Canada, the Last Post and two-minutes of silence, the prayers and act of remembrance and youth commitments,” Wark said.
A flyover by 440 Transport Squadron is scheduled and the Holy Trinity Anglican Church will be ringing 11 bells during the two minutes of silence.
Wark said the service is usually marked by music performances with bagpipe players, trumpet performances, pipes, drums and choral pieces. This year none of that will take place as all music will be pre-recorded.
“We will be encouraging people to sing, but only if they have masks on,” she said. “But barricades will be up and we really are encouraging people to stay home.”
Tammy Roberts, Legion president, will speak during the ceremony and Chaplain Kenneth MacCrae will officiate.
Schools observed sacrifice on Tuesday
Students will not be in school on Wednesday as Remembrance Day is a statutory holiday in the NWT. However, the high schools were scheduled to have pre-recorded Remembrance Day ceremonies on Tuesday.
Sir John Franklin School vice-principal Paul Bennett said students will also have a virtual, pre-recorded assembly for those in grades 10 to 12.
Teachers were asked to play the the videos in their classrooms as close to 11 a.m. as possible.
That event was to be marked by Bennett’s opening remarks and the honoured military speech by Col. (Ret’d) Kevin McLeod, a 27-year veteran in combat zones like Cyprus, Bosnia and Afghanistan.
Amber-Lynn Burke performed the Last Post and La Rousse. There were also to be choral performances by Anna Pontin and Olivia Rockwell.
Lacey Taylor-Payne of St. Theresa Point First Nation in Manitoba was to give the Aboriginal veterans speech on behalf of past and present Indigenous service people with the Canadian Armed Forces.