A Legion member looks skyward as one of two fly-pasts occur during Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Fonthill Legion branch on November 11, 2020. DON RICKERS

The Talbot Trail Branch of the Canadian Legion in Fonthill observed Remembrance Day on Wednesday, November 11, beginning at 10:45 AM, in Veterans Park on the Legion grounds.

[Slideshow below]

Services in Fenwick at Centennial Park, in Ridgeville at the Cenotaph, and in Peace Park behind the Town’s municipal offices were not be conducted this year due to COVID-19.

Safeguards were built into the program to protect service participants and attendees. The March On/March Off parade was eliminated, and wreaths were laid prior to the commencement of the service. Attendance at the service was limited to comply with local, Regional, and Provincial directives, which included the wearing of masks by all on site. However, dozens of onlookers stood outside the Legion grounds to support the annual event.

Live-streaming of the service was provided courtesy of Niagara College’s students and staff from the Broadcast Radio, Television and Film (BRTF) program.

Speakers included Legion branch President Toni McKelvie and Sargeant at Arms Bill Ashby, along with local politicians or their representatives.

Fort Erie pilot Alf Beam provided a flyover in his North American T-28 Trojan trainer aircraft as the service began, followed by Pelham’s Leon Evans in the vintage WWII Lancaster bomber “Vera” 40 minutes later. Vera—nicknamed for her civil registration number, C-GVRA— is part of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum collection at the Mount Hope Airport. The bomber was built in 1945, one of 7,377 manufactured during the course of the war effort. Vera is one of only two that remain in flying condition.

Remembrance Day 2020 Slideshow

 

Remarks delivered by Mayor Marvin Junkin

Good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us for this Remembrance celebration.

Nothing about this year has been normal, and today is no different. Today, we are wearing masks, unable to freely kiss the cheeks of our service members, or sons, daughter, mothers, fathers, grandfathers, and grandmothers. We are unable to shake the hand of the veteran with their poppy box at the grocery store. Instead, we’re forced to keep our distance and extend our gratitude from a minimum of six feet away. But make no mistake, these restrictions make today, this honour, no less important.

As Mayor, I am afforded the opportunity to speak at various functions and events, but to be here this morning, in remembrance of those who served our country, is truly an honour.

During this pandemic we hear a lot about making sacrifices in our personal lives to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. They can be inconvenient, but we adhere to them to keep everyone around us safe. The men and women in uniform here today did the same thing, but on a scale most of us will never understand. If you feel inconvenienced about having to wear a mask or limit your personal gatherings, I ask you to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be here today.

Every person who has put on a uniform with the Maple Leaf patch is a hero, plain and simple. Every life lost in the field of battle is a thread looped into the strengthening fabric of our freedom. We are not here today by accident. We are here today because hundreds of thousands of brave men and women committed to our country’s ideals and beliefs, chief among them being a free nation.

With each passing year we become another step removed from the history of past wars. Conflict is not ideal but sometimes necessary. It is not to be glorified but to be respected. We have a role to play in keeping these stories, these memories, these lessons, alive for generations to come.

We are fortunate that, throughout history, so many have stood up, raised their hand, and said ‘Yes’ when called upon. The courage this must have taken is hard to wrap your head around.

And as a tribute to those who served and serve today, we gather in November to celebrate and to mourn. Most importantly, we gather to remember. Always to remember.

I look around at those of you in uniform today, and I, along with so many, would simply like to say thank you.

It’s not enough. It will never be enough. But at this moment, I humbly ask you to accept our gratitude.

As the sun sets and rises, you will all remain in our hearts and minds today, tomorrow, and always. We will remember. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.

Thank you.