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Remembering virtually: Saskatoon’s COVID-19 pandemic Remembrance Day

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WATCH: Remembrance Day looked slightly different this year in Saskatoon with no large gatherings allowed because of the pandemic – Nov 11, 2020

While there were no gatherings at Remembrance Day ceremonies in Saskatoon, the service felt all too familiar for those watching and participating.

Normally thousands of people would fill SaskTel Centre in what usually is one of Canada’s largest indoor ceremonies on Nov. 11.

Read more: Saskatoon Remembrance Day ceremony recognizes the past, present and future

This year’s ceremony was pre-taped in October with a limited audience to some of those in the military and their families, veterans and a handful of local politicians.

Veterans and those still part of the military shared their stories and experiences virtually. 

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Even without a crowd, the sentiment remains the same.

“I believe all Canadians should respect the day and honour it because what we’re really doing is honouring our war dead. The ones who did not come home,” retired warrant officer Ed Dagenais said during a video interview, which aired during the service.

“That really made me want to contribute even more. I really wanted to give back to my community and I continue to want to give back to Canada and the world. And this is one of the ways that I do it,” Col. Gwen Bourque said.

Read more: Coronavirus: No Remembrance Day ceremony in Saskatoon, replaced by drive-by tribute

Outside of the stadium, Saskatoon usually sees several outdoor ceremonies on university grounds and at Montgomery Place.

Both were quieter than normal, but people still took time to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“Canadians did what Canadians did best. We answered. Some didn’t have a lot of training. They went into very terrible conditions, but it didn’t matter because there were people in need,” HMCS UNICORN commanding officer Cmdr. Gary Gregor said, noting Remembrance Day to him is not forgetting those who passed in both world wars.

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The service is available to watch at the Saskatoon Remember’s website.

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