Changes to the 2020 National Remembrance Day Ceremony

The importance of a live ceremony honouring our Veterans and their sacrifices is considered paramount by the Legion, especially during the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.  As so many other commemorations have either been cancelled or delayed by the current pandemic the symbology of our Legions and community leaders paying homage to past sacrifices and before the eyes of those that served is more important now than ever.  Our pledge to never forget echoes loudly throughout a land that has been immersed in isolation with a population whose focus is far from the events that we honour with this ceremony. 

The 2020 National Remembrance Ceremony will be conducted live at the National War Memorial on 11 Nov 2020.  The following outlines the plan that will allow many elements of the previously conducted ceremony to take place while working within the restrictions imposed by the current pandemic.

Contributing Factors

The planning of the National Remembrance Ceremony has taken into consideration the following restrictions imposed by the Regional and Provincial health authorities as a result of the current pandemic:

  • The Government and local health authorities direction on the limit on outside gatherings.
  • The restrictions imposed on indoor gatherings.
  • The requirement to physically distance between individuals to a minimum of six feet or two meters.
  • The requirement to wear protective masks.
  • Members of the Cadet and Junior rangers are prohibited from participating in such activities as remembrance ceremonies.
  • Many of our Veterans and members are in the demographic most affected by the current pandemic.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces abides by the restrictions imposed by the local health authorities and are therefore limiting numbers and marching formations.  

Changes to the Content of the Ceremony

The conduct of the National Ceremony will follow the standard format but modified to conform to the local restrictions as follows:

  • Ceremony Participants: The maximum amount for an outside gathering is 100.
  • Location: The ceremony will take place at the National War Memorial on 11 November.
  • Veterans' Parade:  There will be no Veteran’s parade.
  • Canadian Armed Forces: There will be no CAF parade.
  • Colour Party: Reduced to Canadian, Legion, Union Jack, Red Ensign, NATO & UN
  • Canadian Armed Forces: Four armed sentries and one sentinel (Nursing Sister) posted by Canadian Armed Forces.
  • Other:  One trumpeter, one piper to play the Lament, flag orderly to lower and raise the Canadian flag.
  • Vice Regal Party: standing in front of and facing Memorial.  Their wreaths are prepositioned so no assistant wreath bearer is required.
  • Wreath Bearers: The majority of wreaths are to be preplaced at the memorial prior to the ceremony.  Those wanting to place the wreath personally can do so after the ceremony concludes.  Acknowledgement of preplaced wreaths will be placed on our  website.
  • Spectators:  Discouraged from attending due to the limited space and the requirement to physically distance. 
  • Media:  Media are invited to attend.  The Legion will be broadcasting via Facebook Live.

Questions:  Questions can be directed towards dmartin@legion.ca or ktherien@legion.ca 

The modifications in our planning and conduct of the National Remembrance Day Ceremony are difficult but not insurmountable.  Following the local area restrictions imposed due to the pandemic  remains paramount in concern of the safety of all involved.  However a reduction in people at the ceremony location and an adjustment in the format will allow us to honour our Veterans and the sacrifices made regardless of the pandemic.