Above, NVN’s live video of this morning’s Nov. 11 commemorations by Morewood Cenotaph Committee members and a small number of public and military personnel.
MOREWOOD — It was a once-in-hundred-years kind of Remembrance Day at the Morewood Cenotaph this morning as organizers ensured the annual tradition went on — albeit in different form due to COVID-19 measures.
The soaring local monument celebrates its centennial anniversary next summer; the small gathering today, however, was the 100th time that people have stood at the foot of the soldier statue in memory of local war dead on Nov. 11.
The great flu pandemic and World War I were both fresh memories when the monument first hosted remembrance ceremonies on what was then known as Armistice Day.
The current pandemic saw participants masked and making an effort to stand at least six feet apart. Local high school student Rhiannon Erjavec performed on trumpet from across the main intersection, standing in Veterans’ View Park to main a mandated minimum 21-foot distance from others when performing music.
Bill Smirle, chair of the Morewood Cenotaph Committee, emceed the event, while Marjorie Van der Veen sang both O Canada and The Royal Anthem at the respective beginning and end of the 2020 ceremony. Committee vice-chair John Grove read out the Act of Remembrance from the podium. Pastor Debbie Poirier delivered the scripture reading, message and final benediction.
North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser was called upon to read aloud the poem, In Flanders Field.
Wreaths were laid in advance to shorten the length of the event. Grove and Smirle respectively read out the names of the organizations and late individuals to whom wreaths were dedicated. Smirle noted that Morewood and area residents who paid the supreme sacrifice for their country ranged from just 14 up to 38 years of age.
A small number of service personnel took part in the commemorations this year again, including a member of the U.S. military affiliated with Canadian Forces Station Leitrim. Soldiers from the Station have participated in the Morewood observances for several years.