While it was a different ceremony than usual, there were no shortage of tributes as London, Ont., marked Remembrance Day and took time to honour those who sacrificed everything.
The ceremony took place once again at the London Cenotaph in Victoria Park, but saw no parade and had 25 participants, down from more than 500 last year.
Londoners were advised not to attend due to COVID-19 guidelines, but a small crowd still formed outside a roped barrier to pay their respects.
“It was an interesting planning exercise, but we kept going back to the reason that we’re here,” said Randy Warden, a veteran and the chairperson of the London Remembrance Day Committee.
“We can’t lose sight of the fact that 118,000 Canadians since Confederation have died in the line of duty.”
Those in attendance were treated to clear skies, music, spoken word and a fly-by from a Lockheed C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft that arrived just before the moment of silence.
Warden says the fly-by was one of the highlights of his day.
“I know that when that pilot flew over Parkwood (Institute), the World War II veterans were at their windows watching and he tipped his wing to them. That’s what it’s all about,” said Warden.
On top of forcing changes to Remembrance Day ceremonies across Canada, the pandemic has also placed a number of annual reunions on hold.
“Normally, following Remembrance Day, we would gather at a local legion or one of the military messes,” said Warden, who also serves as a local zone commander for the Royal Canadian Legion.
“Many of us go out to Parkwood (Institute) and mingle with the Parkwood veterans and all of that’s paused this year, so it’s a little bit different.”
The Remembrance Day ceremony concluded with the laying of eight wreaths at the Cenotaph as it was guarded by four armed sentries, courtesy of RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces.
While Londoners were advised to not attend the ceremony, they are invited to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph now that the event has concluded.