Top News

Parrsboro legion reducing number of wreaths laid during Remembrance Day ceremony

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 45 sergeant at arms Don Forbes looks over one of the wreaths that will be laid during the Remembrance Day ceremony in Parrsboro on Nov.11. This year, only eight official wreaths will be laid at the cenotaph during the official ceremony. Families are invited to lay their wreaths following the official ceremony.
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 45 sergeant at arms Don Forbes looks over one of the wreaths that will be laid during the Remembrance Day ceremony in Parrsboro on Nov.11. This year, only eight official wreaths will be laid at the cenotaph during the official ceremony. Families are invited to lay their wreaths following the official ceremony. - Darrell Cole

Families still invited to lay wreaths following official ceremony

PARRSBORO, N.S. —

Parrsboro’s Royal Canadian Legion is changing how it conducts Remembrance Day.

Starting this year, the legion branch will only lay eight symbolic wreaths and crosses during the ceremony of remembrance at the community cenotaph.

“For a number of years many wreaths and crosses have been laid during the ceremony, not for the fallen who died, or as a result of active service, but for those who served and passed away in their time,” legion vice-president Alain Couture said. “This has resulted in an increasing logistic and administrative burden on a decreasing number of volunteers and much longer ceremonies for our aging veterans. The legion no longer has the resources to administer, organize and transport personal family wreaths.”

Couture said legion officials understand there are those who would wish to continue to pay tribute to relatives or friends who served and are no longer with us. This act at most ceremonies is demonstrated by the placing of their poppies at a cenotaph after the ceremony.

“Those who in the past have supported the poppy campaign with wreaths and crosses are invited this year to donate and receive their wreath or cross which will then become their family property and can be kept by them,” he said. “These tributes may be laid by them after the official ceremony, and then collected and stored by them until they next wish to lay them.”

Alternatively, he said, they can be returned to the legion for storage until next year. From now on, though, families must bring their tributes to the ceremony themselves.

Legion officials are asking families to contact the legion before Nov. 8 in order to arrange to pick-up of wreaths.

The laying of private tributes can take place by family representatives as soon as the official service is finished and the names of the fallen, listed on the cenotaph, have been read out.

“We hope that you will understand that this change is not intended to be disrespectful in any way but is a result of the changing times we find ourselves in. The importance of the Act of Remembrance to those of us who serve and have served, their families and those who support our ideals has not changed,” Couture said.

Legion sergeant at arms Don Forbes expects there will be some blowback, but he said the community needs to understand there are fewer volunteers available and it’s becoming harder logistically to get the wreaths to the cenotaph and then back to the legion.

There are also issues with a longer service and aging veterans.

“We’re in no ways intending to be disrespectful. If you look back to the beginnings of this it was to remember those who died in battle,” Forbes said. “In recognition of those who fought we allowed families to lay wreaths and it got up to 175 or 180 wreaths. Then there’s the pre-laid wreaths. It all takes time and resources we don’t have.”

Forbes said some have said weather never deterred veterans during their service, but that was more than 70 years ago and all the remaining Second World War and Korean War veterans are now in their 90s.

Recent Stories