The commemoration of Remembrance Day in Swift Current will be scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but fallen soldiers and veterans will still be honoured during an outdoor ceremony with limited attendance in Memorial Park.
The revised format of this year’s Remembrance Day service will include a new live stream option to give city residents the opportunity to watch the outdoor event online from their homes.
Jason Tangen, the sergeant-at-arms for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 56 in Swift Current, said the changes are unavoidable.
“This is the way it needs to be for the interest of public safety,” he noted. “We're going to do our best to make sure we give the day the credit it deserves.”
There is a feeling in the community that Remembrance Day still needs to be observed and the Legion therefore wanted to ensure that an event takes place, even though it will be on a smaller scale.
The Royal Canadian Legion and the Department of National Defence have decided that cadets and Canadian Armed Forces members will not be participating in this year’s Remembrance Day events.
Air, Sea and Navy League cadets have for many years been an integral part of the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Swift Current. The Legion branch is therefore making alternative arrangements to have other community members take over duties during the different Remembrance Day events in the city.
In previous years the annual Remembrance Day commemoration in Swift Current started with an overnight vigil by air cadets at the cenotaph in Memorial Park. There was an outdoor parade and service at the cenotaph at 9 a.m. on Remembrance Day, and thereafter the official indoor service was held at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School.
The overnight vigil at the cenotaph by the air cadets is an annual tradition that started in the early 1990s. It will continue this year, but the vigil will be carried out by Legion members in association with members of the Swift Current RCMP detachment and the R.M. of Swift Current Fire Department.
There will only be a single event on Remembrance Day that will be held outdoor at the cenotaph in Memorial Park. It will start at 10:45 a.m. and public attendance will be limited to 150 people.
Members of the Legion, the RCMP and firefighters will be part of the ceremonial honour guard for this outdoor Remembrance Day ceremony. Tangen added that the Legion is also reaching out to other groups in the community to be part of the honour guard.
There will be controlled access to Memorial Park for the Remembrance Day event to ensure that attendance can be limited to 150 people.
“As it stands right now, unless there's a change, we're being allowed to have 150 spectators,” he said. “We're going to be blocking off all the entrances into the park, except for one, and we'll be having somebody keeping track of how many people are coming in.”
Those planning to attend the outdoor service are requested to use the central entrance on the south side of Memorial Park.
“We are encouraging people to distance themselves and we do encourage them to wear masks as well,” he said.
Unfortunately, people will have to be turned away once the attendance limit is reached, and therefore there is the alternative option to follow the event online from home.
The live stream of the Remembrance Day proceedings will start at 10:45 a.m., but people will also be able to watch about 30 minutes of pre-recorded material before the event starts. Afterwards a recording of the Remembrance Day service in Memorial Park will be available on YouTube for viewing.
The live stream to the Remembrance Day service in Memorial Park is available through a boxcast link or by scanning a QR code on a smartphone. The boxcast link is available here: https://boxcast.tv/view/virtual-remembrance-day-service-520192