The local Legion has been grappling with the manner in which Remembrance Day ceremonies should be held this year with COVID restrictions in place, and they've planned a solution.
Portage la Prairie Legion Branch 65 President Bob Oldford explains how this will be done.
"This year, we are hosting the Remembrance Day service downtown at the cenotaph outside," says Oldford. "We've applied for permission to close the eastbound lanes on Saskatchewan Avenue from First Street right through Tupper Street to allow the public to practice social distancing, and we're recommending the wearing of masks. Certain restrictions have been placed, so we're actually going to pre-lay all the wreaths ahead of time at the cenotaph at about 10:30 in the morning. There are some people that normally come and lay their own wreaths for their families, and we're asking them if they could do that at that time, too. The wreaths will stay there throughout the whole service, but we're going to have to pre-lay them so they're not being handled by a lot of different people."
Oldford notes they normally have people place their wreaths after the ceremony begins, but that won't happen this year.
"The service will be about 15 minutes long," says Oldford. "And we're also trying to live-stream it. We're in the process of trying to work all those details out so that we could be live-streaming for those folks that won't be able to handle being outside. So, the service will be a lot shorter than what it normally is. There will not be a parade of military personnel or any of that because they have certain restrictions against them as well, and so it will be totally different type of service, but the maximum length of time would be 15 minutes."
He says they've invited the usual dignitaries to be present, including the MP, MLA, Mayor and the Reeve of the RM. Oldford says their Silver Cross Mother, Gloria Hooper, will be there as well.
Oldford adds the service will begin at 10:55, to give time for all to be present for the moment of silence at 11:00 sharp. He recommends everyone be there by at latest 10:45 a.m., or 10:30 if laying a wreath.