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Impromptu Remembrance Day ceremony attracts crowd in Kelowna

Click to play video 'Crowd gathers for impromptu Remembrance Day ceremony in Kelowna' Crowd gathers for impromptu Remembrance Day ceremony in Kelowna
Crowd gathers for impromptu Remembrance Day ceremony in Kelowna – Nov 11, 2020

Remembrance Day looked quite a bit different this year as all public parades and ceremonies were cancelled due to public health orders, but some people still went out to pay their respects.

Bagpipes echoed across a crowd of around 150 people at the Kelowna City Park Cenotaph.

The impromptu gathering included a bugle player who showed up to play the familiar “Last Post”.

Read more: Remembrance Day is different this year. Here’s how Canadians are commemorating

Mario Leblanc, a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, said it’s a unique Remembrance Day for him as he retired only two months ago.

“The first one not in uniform is a bit special for me. I did not know what to expect coming here and to see the whole crowd gathered — and to see the amount of people here — it’s very heartwarming,” said Leblanc.

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The recently retired air force veteran said although this year’s Remembrance day may look different — the day’s meaning remains the same.

“The day means you have to take a deep breath and take a step back,” said Leblanc.

“Think about all the sacrifices that the men and women in the military and their families have made.”

Legion members laid wreaths at the foot of the monument with a field of crosses placed nearby.

Read more: Remembrance Day is different this year. Here’s how Canadians are commemorating

One active-duty Canadian Armed Forces member was also shocked at the turn out.

“It’s incredible to see how many people came out and everybody who stepped up, I think it’s really important,” said Cole Fouillard.

Fouillard, who fought in Afghanistan, said the turnout shows the support of the Kelowna community.

“This is showing (that) we’re not letting traditions fall to the wayside,” Fouillard told Global News on Wednesday.

“We’re not allowing external circumstances to get in the way of what’s right and what’s true.”

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A pre-taped event was shown on a stream on the Kelowna legion’s website.

The veteran’s organization decided to record the event days prior due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions.

Click to play video 'Highlights from the 2020 Remembrance Day ceremony in Vancouver’s Victory Square' Highlights from the 2020 Remembrance Day ceremony in Vancouver’s Victory Square
Highlights from the 2020 Remembrance Day ceremony in Vancouver’s Victory Square – Nov 11, 2020