I would appreciate an opportunity to respond to a letter written by Crystal Rathwell, published in your Nov. 24 issue, regarding cancellation of the Remembrance Day ceremony at Barwick.
Ms. Rathwell refers to the “powers that be” cancelling services in Barwick and says that no one could give her a reason why.
Br. #99 of the Royal Canadian Legion arrange cenotaph services and Remembrance Day programs for Devlin, Emo, Barwick, and Stratton. In the past, we have rotated the program so that it is held at Devlin one year, Emo the next, and so on.
Cenotaph services were held at each community every year, with only the time of the service varying since the colour party and representatives can’t be in all four communities at 11 a.m.
This arrangement has become increasingly difficult with each passing year as remaining veterans age and numbers dwindle. Last year, we were forced to cancel our entire program, banquet, and all cenotaph services due to icy weather conditions.
We, too, believe that each and every person should be remembered for the sacrifices that they made. That is why, after considerable discussion at several meetings (at which we always observe the silence and recite the Remembrance), we decided to hold Remembrance Day services on May 8, which is V.E. (Victory in Europe) Day.
These services were well advertised and very well attended, much better than most of the services we previously have held on Nov. 11. Many of the seniors commented that it was much easier for them to get out to services in May as opposed to November due to the weather.
More discussions were held at subsequent meetings and a motion was made to arrange a program and cenotaph service in only one of the four communities on Nov. 11, rotating each year.
Cenotaph services are to be held in all four communities on May 8.
Letters were given to businesses and organizations that purchased wreaths, advising them of our plans. An advertisement was placed in the Nov. 10 issue of the Fort Frances Times. This information also was submitted by at least two correspondents for the Fort Frances Times, and posters were put up in several locations.
The information also was available to anyone who called the Legion during business hours or by asking any active member of the branch.
We applaud Ms. Rathwell and her family for their interest and appreciation! We encourage everyone to observe the two minutes of silence, regardless of where they are or what they are doing, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Your attendance at an official ceremony is greatly appreciated but, in reality, not always possible. You can still wear a poppy as a reminder. Stop at the cenotaphs anytime, read the names, and REMEMBER!
We hope everyone will join us on May 8 for cenotaph services in all four communities. Look for our advertisement in the May 3 edition of the Fort Frances Times or call the Legion at 482-2250 for program times.
President, Legion Br. #99,