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Nov. 26, 2020 | Thursday
Editorials and Opinions
Editorial: A day to remember
Legion member Stan Harrington places a wreath at the cenotaph on Queen Street Tuesday. (Richard Harley)

Every year, in every community, in every school, on main streets and at memorials across the land, we pause to remember those who fought to ensure our freedoms.

It has been 75 years since the last world war ended and many surviving veterans of that conflict are no longer with us. But they, and their comrades who did not return from war, have not been forgotten.

In 2020, a year like no other, the usual solemn marches and gatherings at cenotaphs across Canada were replaced by virtual gatherings. Many, like the ceremony outside the NOTL Legion, were broadcast live online.

Because not remembering is not an option.

Poppies don't seem to have been quite as visible this year, as the Niagara-on-the-Lake branch of the Royal Canadian Legion – and branches across the country – were unable to conduct their usual two-week public poppy campaign leading up to Nov. 11.

With people staying home, trying to stay safe, we will not be surprised if we learn that poppy sales were a fraction of what they have been in years past.

The poppy sale is a crucial way for Legions to raise much-needed money to help veterans in need throughout the year. The Legion notes that money raised from poppy donations also helps fund medical equipment, research, home services and many other veteran needs.

If you were not able to buy a poppy this year, or even if you did, please consider making a donation directly to the NOTL Legion or online at

https://legion.ca/donations.

On Wednesday, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was heartening, but not surprising, to see a crowd of about 120 people turn out to NOTL's clock tower cenotaph on Queen Street to pay their respects to our fallen soldiers.

We know that many, many others observed Remembrance Day in their own way but it was especially touching that so many NOTLers took it upon themselves to safely mark the occasion, despite there being no formal ceremony this year.

In a heart-warming tribute to their late father George Wilson, siblings Rob Wilson and Debbie Zabek laid a wreath. Their dad would have turned 100 this year.

We think Rob Wilson aptly summed up why Nov. 11 is so important:

“On Remembrance Day, he would be down here. I’m here for him and not just him, all the local guys, all the guys all over the world who gave their lives so we could be standing here."

Because not remembering is not an option.

 

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