Veterans forced to get creative with annual remembrance event due to COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video: 'No Stone Left Alone 2021 in Manitoba'
No Stone Left Alone 2021 in Manitoba
Veteran and organizer of the No Stone Left Alone Ceremony in the Transcona Cemetery, Peter Martin, joins Global News Morning’s Kahla Evans with more on this year’s ceremonies in Manitoba – Nov 2, 2021

As Remembrance Day approaches, the lingering COVID-19 pandemic means some traditional ceremonies will be altered or cancelled to comply with health restrictions, but according to one local veteran, it’s still important that young people get a chance to get out and learn about the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers first-hand.

Peter Martin, one of the organizers of Transcona’s annual No Stone Left Alone event, said concerns over the health and safety of students meant the yearly ceremony — which sees hundreds of Grade 6 students visit the local field of honour and read the inscriptions on the gravestones of veterans in person — had to be cancelled.

“Rather than just reading in a textbook, they actually got to participate in an act of appreciation — face to face with a gravestone, read the inscription, bow their heads and acknowledge the sacrifice,” he said.

“This year … we were trying to work through the COVID restrictions and the rules and all the procedures and protocols, and we decided it’s not worth it — we didn’t want to take a chance.

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“It’s sad, but there’s also something good that comes out of these things.”

Martin said a call from a Winnipeg teacher led to plans for a smaller event taking place at Brookside Cemetery — one of the biggest graveyards in the city — as well as similar events in Souris and a French-only ceremony in St. Boniface.

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“Now, instead of a large crowd at one of the smaller fields of honour, we have a small crowd at one of the largest fields of honour,” he said.

“All’s not lost, we just need to consider safety, and we need to keep doing what we can to get the students out into the cemeteries, the fields of honour, to pay their respects.”

More information about this year’s No Stone Left Alone ceremonies in Manitoba — and across the country — can be found on the organization’s website.

Click to play video: 'RCAF band holding tribute concert for veterans'
RCAF band holding tribute concert for veterans

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