OPINION: Remembering in person


As numerous outdoor events have taken place in recent weeks, one that is very heartening to see return will occur next week: Remembrance Day service at the cenotaph in Chatham.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of so many events for safety reasons. Once again, there will be no Santa Claus parades in our municipality (although other municipalities are holding theirs), for example.

But the public will be allowed to pay their respects to our military veterans on Nov. 11.

Add a mask to your attire for the day and you should be good to go, as social distancing might not always be possible, depending on the turnout.

Standing outside in cold fall weather, whether it is a crisp, sunny day or one delivering rain, is essentially a rite of respect; a sombre way to give thanks to our veterans who put their lives on the line to ensure we have the freedoms we enjoy today. Some, of course, made the ultimate sacrifice. Others may have survived, but did not return as the same person they were when they shipped out.

And to stand in the elements for a time should serve to remind us all that the brave souls who fought in the First and Second World Wars had no say on what weather they had to endure from day to day, be it in a water-filled trench in France in 1917, or battling in house-to-house fighting in Western Europe in 1944.

The same can be said of our veterans who served in the frigid winters of Korea, or our peacekeepers who witnessed atrocities in the former Yugoslavia or in parts of Africa.

Surely we can put up with a chill wind or a little rain to remember the efforts of our veterans.

But, even though the event will take place outdoors, we remind everyone there is still a pandemic. The COVID-19 virus is proving to be quite stubborn. Despite vaccination levels of 80 per cent in everyone aged 12 and up, we must respect social distancing and mask guidelines where required.

Again, add a mask to go with your gloves and umbrella in terms of planning what to bring on Nov. 11.




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