Crowd limits lifted just in time for Remembrance Day services

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The Sarnia Cenotaph statue known as Tommy is pictured with its still unfinished Lee Enfield replacement rifle at the Artcast Foundry in Georgetown, Ont. Restoration was carried out by the Sarnia Historical Society and coordinated by Memorial Restorations of Sarnia. Submitted photo

Tara Jeffrey

After all, Sarnia Remembrance Day services will be an in-person event at the Veterans Park.

“We are extremely happy,” said Les Jones, vice-president of Sarnia Legion Branch 62, shortly after Ontario lifted capacity limits on all public events held outside.

The Legion was planning a small private service, similar to the one they organized last year, he explained. But following last week’s announcement, organizers have decided to open the event to the public. This means a traditional parade starting at the Legion Hall on Front Street at 10:35 a.m. and a wreath laying ceremony at Veterans Park at 11 a.m.

Although capacity limits are lifted, COVID-19 protocols remain in place, including masks and physical distancing.

“We’re happy to come back,” Jones said. “Especially since this year is a milestone. “

A dedication ceremony was held Saturday for Sarnia’s centennial cenotaph – one of the city’s holiest monuments – which featured the return of the bronze soldier statue known as “Tommy.”

He was damaged when vandals ripped off his rifle and was sent back for repair.

This prompted the Sarnia Historical Society and Legion to launch a fundraising campaign to refurbish the statue and modernize the surrounding park.

“I just can’t believe the response we got from the public,” Jones said of the people who came forward to help, including the Sarnia Lambton Building Trades Council, the International Brotherhood. Electrical Workers, Local 530 and Bluewater Power.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Remembrance Poppy in Canada.

“I think we have a very rich military history in Sarnia,” Jones said. “There are many people from this region who have served, and many families still around who continue to remember and honor their loved ones.

Other Remembrance Day events include:

Aamjiwnaang First Nation will hold its annual Remembrance Day service on November 8, in recognition of National Indigenous Veterans Day. Chief Chris Plain said members of the public are invited to attend a short ceremony at the cenotaph at 11 a.m. on Tashmoo Avenue, with local dignitaries and representatives of the Legion.

Corunna The Remembrance Day service will be streamed live on Facebook by Leslie Sutherland’s Branch 447 Legion on November 11 at 11 a.m. A ceremony at the National War Memorial near the clock tower will include representatives of the Legion and a number of dignitaries. The public is not encouraged to attend.

Pointe Edouard will hold its Remembrance Day service on Sunday, November 7 at the St. Clair Avenue Cenotaph at 11 am. Members of the public are invited to attend. There is no parade. A small gathering will follow at the Point Edward Ex-Military Association Hall.

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