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Don't come to the North Vancouver Remembrance Day ceremony, veterans group pleads

Public urged to watch the ceremony online to avoid exposing veterans to COVID-19
Remembrance Day Ceremony PM web
Sgt. Major (retired) Bob Maley stands at the Cenotaph at Victoria Park, on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. Residents are being asked to stay home and watch the ceremony online to reduce the risk of exposing veterans to COVID-19.

Those looking to commemorate Canada’s veterans should plan to do so from home again this year.

For the second time in their history, the North Shore Veterans Council is asking the public to stay back from their North Vancouver Remembrance Day ceremony.

While there will be a service at the Victoria Park cenotaph on Nov. 11, organizers are hoping members of the public will watch it online from home.

There are no rules barring outdoor events or limiting how many people can attend, but the group has made the decision to protect those who once protected us.

“Don’t forget – those [veterans] that remain are very elderly so we’re trying to protect them and we want to remember them for what they did for us,” said Bob Maley, parade marshal and organizer. “We’re losing these veterans every year and they’re very important and they’re always in our hearts.”

Those who tune in online will find the usual solemn ceremony, but the council has brought back some familiar tributes including a pipe band and brass band, both of which had to sit out in 2020.

The group made a similar plea last year, when no one was vaccinated, but still more than 1,000 people came, Maley said.

Maley said he understands there will be people who don’t get the message. And others will feel compelled to come, regardless. Those who do find themselves in Victoria Park on the morning of Nov. 11 better be vaccinated and wearing masks, Maley said.

“We still have to remember COVID is still around so we have to be extra careful, extra vigilant,” he said. “This is for the safety and the health of the veterans.”

To make sure everyone can participate, organizers will be posting a link to the online ceremony on the North Shore Veterans Council website.

The Royal Canadian Legion branches that have previously organized Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Lynn Valley and West Vancouver cenotaphs are not holding public ceremonies this year, also because of COVID.