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Crowd limits lifted just in time for Remembrance Day services

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Tara Jeffrey

Sarnia’s Remembrance Day services will be an in-person event at Veterans Park after all.

“We’re extremely happy,” said Les Jones, President of Sarnia Legion Branch 62, shortly after Ontario lifted capacity limits on all organized public events held outdoors.

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

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

“We’re glad to get back to it,” said Jones. “Especially with this year being such a milestone event.”

A rededication ceremony was held Saturday for Sarnia’s 100-year-old Cenotaph — one of the city’s most hallowed landmarks ‑ which featured the return of the bronze soldier statue known as “Tommy.”

It was damaged when vandals pried off its rifle and had been sent away for repairs.

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

“I just can’t believe the response we had from the public,” Jones said of the folks that came forward to help, including the Sarnia Lambton Building and Construction Trades Council, the International Brotherhood of 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,” said Jones. “There’s a lot of people from this area who served, and a lot of families still around who continue to remember and honour their loved ones.”

Other Remembrance Day events include:

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

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

Point Edward will host its Remembrance Day service on Sunday, Nov. 7 at the cenotaph on St. Clair Avenue at 11 a.m. Members of the public are welcome to attend. There is no parade. A small gathering will follow at the Point Edward Ex-Servicemen’s Association Hall.



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