WARMINGTON: Remembrance event moved from driveway to cenotaph

Article content

OAKVILLE — No one forgot Remembrance Day here in 2020, but there were some during the pandemic who tried to block it.


Story continues below

Article content

Those organizing last year’s service — on the Sunday before Remembrance Day — were forced to hold it on the driveway belonging to Gene Reed, past president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 486.

Initially planned to be held at a cenotaph in 2020, that location was abandoned due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

“We had a neighbour complain we were violating the six-people gathering rule if you can imagine,” said the veteran of the Canadian navy. “We actually had a bylaw officer come to investigate.”

But this year, not only were veterans back at Chris Vokes Memorial Park — located at Bronte and Lakeshore Rds. in Oakville — but joining them was Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand.

The newly-minted minister takes over the military file in a tumultuous time for the Canadian Armed Forces but promised going forward that those who serve will do so in a “safe” environment where their efforts will be fully respected.


Story continues below

Article content

She demonstrated some of that respect by making a point of asking to get a picture taken with the legendary local legion’s organizers, so she would have a keepsake. It was as classy a move.

What a difference a year makes.

Yes, there were masks and social distancing, but it was still a moving, solemn tribute which included the playing of O Canada played and a recitation of In Flanders Field . Pipers played a rendition of the Last Post on their bagpipes.

It was extra special returning to Christopher Vokes Memorial Park this year as it was named in memory of Oakville’s own Maj.-Gen. Christopher Vokes, who led troops — including Reed’s father, Cliff — in Second World War battles.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

When Anand, Oakville’s MP, arrived along with Mayor Rob Burton and Oakville MPP Stephen Crawford, the trio sent out the message the pandemic will no longer disrupt remembrance services.


Story continues below

Article content

“We sure appreciate it,” added Reed. “We hope next year we will be able to have our traditional parade, as well.”

Perhaps the person who called bylaw officers a year ago to interrupt a bunch of veterans honouring the war dead had forgotten what this tradition is all about and the sacrifices people made.

  1. Montgomery Legion veteran Robert Juteau with poppies at the Billings Bridge Shopping Centre in Ottawa Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.

    PRESTON MANNING: Reflecting on freedom this Remembrance Day

  2.  Lise Belanger, 18, cleans the gravestone of her great-uncle, Roger

    TAYLOR: The undying courage of Canada’s prisoners of war

  3. The Canadian flag is seen at half mast above the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Sept. 13, 2021.

    Legion to hoist flag at National War Memorial on Remembrance Day then lower it

But it sure didn’t happen that way this year.   This was a very moving ceremony.

Col. Ken Lloyd and fellow legion executives Fred Norman, Mike Vencel and Andrew Barber reminded us that whether the fallen are remembered virtually or at a cenotaph, three words ring true every year.

Lest We Forget.


    Story continues below


    Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


    Share on facebook
    Share on twitter
    Share on pinterest
    Share on linkedin
    On Key

    Related Posts

    On AIR

    Russtrat world