Remembrance Day is going to look at lot different in Kamloops, Okanagan this year | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Remembrance Day is going to look at lot different in Kamloops, Okanagan this year

FILE PHOTO - Kamloops ceremony, 2018.
October 29, 2020 - 7:30 AM

Kamloops and Okanagan branches of the Royal Canadian Legion are concerned about their poppy campaign fundraising this year and some are asking residents to support veterans from home for Remembrance Day.

The poppy campaign, which kicks off Oct. 30 and runs to Remembrance Day, is the biggest fundraiser of the year for legions, and funds raised support veterans and their families.

This year’s fundraisers will look a little different. Some legions, like Kamloops, are asking residents to stay home and watch a live-stream of the event while others are simply asking residents to take a moment on Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. to pay their respects to veterans at the entrance to their homes.

Legions will be accepting poppy donations at various stores, shopping centres, schools and offices this year, but legion members won’t be campaigning in person. Wreath sales are also ongoing, but the usual laying of the wreaths ceremonies will not be taking place all in one event for members of the public as part of any Remembrance Day ceremony.

“We’re disappointed because we can’t have a traditional Remembrance Day service. It’s a very important day for us at the legion in remembrance of veterans and their sacrifice,” said Kelowna legion president John Sokolowski. “The challenge we have is how do we admit people and limit people at a time?”

Sokolowski expects to take a 50 per cent hit on the annual poppy campaign due to COVID-19. 

“We believe people will be nervous about picking up poppies,” he said.

To support the legions, London Drugs is offering its own campaign this year and will be raising additional funds for the national poppy campaign.

Called 'Be Kind', the drug store has partnered with Carlton Cards and is encouraging Canadians to send handwritten cards to friends, families, and neighbours, to show appreciation and brighten their day. A portion of sales from all Carlton or Papyrus Greeting Cards between Nov. 1 to 11 will go directly to the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Trust Fund. Customers can visit any London Drugs store and pick out cards to give, according to a London Drugs press release.

Here’s what’s Remembrance Day will look like in each city this year:

Kamloops

This Remembrance Day ceremony will only be open to veterans this year.

Craig Thomson, Remembrance Day coordinator with the Kamloops Legion, said there will no invitation to the public but the event will be live-streamed through the legion’s Facebook page. The event takes place at the Kamloops cenotaph on Battle Street.

Poppies will be given out by donation at schools, offices and stores around the city, but it’s dependant on the organization and what they want, said legion president Daniel Martin.

Wreaths being sold by the legion have been going on for the last two weeks and the response has been positive, he said.

Wreaths can be laid after the ceremony and will be sold through the legion until Nov. 10. The numbers haven’t been tallied on how well it’s going yet but Martin believes the wreath numbers will be around the same as last year.

“The poppy campaign will be tricky,” he said.

Kelowna

In Kelowna, Sokolowski is asking residents to take a moment to reflect at the entrance to their homes and stay away from the cenotaph on Nov. 11.

A ceremony will be held at the cenotaph in City Park, but the president said there will be strict social distancing measures in place and few spots open for the public to attend.

The cadets and any crowds that typically would attend will not be there, and the ceremony will have limited flag bearers.

“It will be a scaled-down version of what we normally do,” Sokolowski said.

Wreath sales are currently ongoing and at around 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 11 the public will be allowed to lay wreaths before the ceremony with mask requirements and social distancing measures in place, but won’t be a part of the program.

Penticton

Penticton's Remembrance Day ceremony will only have a few representatives, including the RCMP, the mayor, the MLA, MP, flag bearers and legion members with members of the public being able to lay wreaths afterwards, said poppy chair Bob Sudbury.

The event takes place between 10:45 and 11:15 a.m.

The public can stand on the sidewalk and areas outside of tape that will be put down, he said.

Because of COVID-19, the ceremony will not have events in the convention centre, he said.

Penticton’s legion will have poppy boxes available at different locations, but no standing outside with trays or cadets.

“Possibly in January when things quiet down, we’ll look at doing some fundraisers for the poppy campaign,” Sudbury said.

Wreath sales are ongoing until Remembrance Day and will have to be picked up from the legion’s location at 257 Brunswick Street.

Sudbury said people have been reaching out to them for wreath sales, but they've just started advertising sales this week.

 


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