It will be a different sight than usual on Wednesday as London, Ont., prepares to mark Remembrance Day amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s ceremony will still take place at the London Cenotaph in Victoria Park, however it will feature no parade and limited attendance.
“Last year, the City of London had 550 veterans and soldiers on parade and thousands in the audience, and this year we have 25 people by invitation,” said veteran Randy Warden, who also serves as the chairperson for the London Remembrance Day Committee as well as a local zone commander for the Royal Canadian Legion.
In lieu of the parade, participants will instead assemble at the Cenotaph and then leave the area following the service.
The traditional four armed sentries will remain posted at the Cenotaph this year, courtesy of Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
During the ceremony, a total of eight official wreaths will be laid at the Cenotaph.
Current health guidelines have also prompted organizers to ask Londoners to not attend the event, but Warden says there are still ways to participate no matter where you are in the city.
“We are asking all Londoners to stand on the steps at the front door of their residence or business at 11 a.m. to observe a moment of silence,” said Warden.
Warden added that a Lockheed C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft will begin a fly-by over the city just before 11 a.m..
“He will be as low as he legally is allowed to go to the ground… and he will be going at a speed of about 130 knots,” said Warden.
“That’s the speed that that aircraft would go when paratroopers go out during time of war.”
Warden added that a number of local veteran cemeteries will feature a lone piper at 11 a.m. to perform Amazing Grace, observe a moment of silence and then play The Piper’s Lament.
“We’re trying to make sure that there are things happening around the city that you can observe from close to home and still recognize the importance of this day,” said Warden.
The public is invited to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Wednesday or after the ceremony has concluded.
Those who wish to tune in to Remembrance Day can catch the local ceremony in its entirety on Global News Radio 980 CFPL starting at 10:45 a.m.