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City prepares to remember

This year’s scaled-back Remembrance Day ceremonies may mean more to those currently serving in the Canadian Forces. 

The Algonquin Regiment, which consists of part-time enlisted soldiers, will not be able to join the city-wide honouring of war veterans on November 11 as they normally would due to COVID-19 protocols. 

Lieutenant Colonel Alex Haynes says the purpose of the day will still bear significance to those in uniform. 

“Soldiers will take a moment on their own. No doubt,” he said. “There’s not a soldier in uniform who’s not going to be thinking about past sacrifices and perhaps even friends or coworkers they’ve lost in the past.”

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Usually, members of the Algonquin Regiment would join parades and ceremonies around the city as part of their Remembrance Day activities. 

Haynes says the more intimate ceremonies this year will amplify the importance of Remembrance Day for some troops.

“Maybe it’ll give people time to reflect quietly a little more rather than just getting the uniform on and going down to the memorials as part of a routine,” he said. 

The Algonquin Regiment will hold a small gathering at the Algonquin Memorial on November 11. It is one of many small gatherings being held on Remembrance Day around the city in light of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Even though the general public won’t be able to join Remembrance Day ceremonies around the city, Mayor Al McDonald says people should still take the time to remember. 

“The women and men who have served our country, many of them have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can live with the liberties we have today,” McDonald said at an event Monday. “I think it’s important for us all to take the time on Wednesday to give our two minutes of silence and just say the name of a veteran so they don’t die twice.”

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli has a similar message for his constituents. 

“The Legions will tell you: ‘Lest we forget’. Think about that if you forget how you got here. If you forget your history, it can be repeated. So I think that’s why it’s so very important on Remembrance Day… to take some quiet time and reflect. The fact you have the ability to do that means that somebody else gave their life,” Fedeli said. 

Canada sent over 650,000 soldiers to World War I, with 66,000 dying and another 172,000 injured.

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