COVID-19 has forced organizers to cancel a Sidney event designed to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe and recognize local veterans who fought.
“We here in Sidney had planned to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE Day) in a beautiful way on May 8,” said Kenny Podmore, Sidney Town Crier and member of the Saanich Peninsula Royal Canadian Legion Branch 37. “Of course, with the current COVID-19 situation, the event had to be cancelled.”
Podmore said the event would have kicked off with a parade of veterans, featuring members of armed forces, junior cadets, fire departments and others, followed by a ceremony that included Last Post, Reveille and a piper playing the Lament. Plans also called for 443 Marine Helicopter Squadron to fly past the ceremony at 11 a.m.
Podmore said the event also sought to recognize veterans who fought in the war. The commemorative event was also going to display some 30 working vintage military vehicles and would have included a complimentary barbecue lunch provided by UNIFOR (BC Transit) Local 333.
This said, some elements of the planned ceremony have survived. Podmore expects some 3,000 so-called Liberation Tulips planted in the fall to be blooming by May 8. Flags, as well as commemorative banners, will appear in Sidney’s downtown and Podmore said he will mark the occasion with a Proclamation Of Peace in following Town Criers from around the world.
“I will not reveal where this proclamation will take place because of current restrictions on social gatherings and distancing,” he said. “But, I cannot let this day pass without some recognition of this significant milestone in our world history. I will have the proclamation filmed and posted online so that people can tune in if they like.”
Podmore also encourages residents to wear a poppy. “We may not be able to gather, but we can remember,” he said.
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