One thing many people who attended Remembrance Day ceremonies in our area may not be aware of is just how busy a time it is for local Legion branches.
In addition to officiating at the actual service (which they refer to as protocol), which entails things like arranging for a colour party and getting flags, gear and bodies to the appointed cenotaph, there are a myriad of tasks to be performed beforehand such as getting poppies into stores and such, printing programs, inviting special guests and current serving units of the Canadian Armed Forces as well as the various and sundry things that pop up at the last minute.
After the ceremonies, there is the traditional meal and fellowship at the Legion and cleaning up at the cenotaphs.
When the Northbrook Branch 328 closed in July of 2017, it left a gap.
That gap was filled by Arden Branch 334.
The Arden branch has always been responsible for Remembrance Day services in Arden and Mountain Grove, but with the demise of the Northbrook branch, it now has the added responsibility for services in Denbigh and Flinton, as well as logistical support for the services in Plevna.
Wayne Marsh, former president of the Northbrook branch who now serves in Tweed Branch 428, returned on Monday to serve as Sergeant at Arms and organizer. But much of the pre-Remembrance Day duties fell to Arden.
But, as Arden President Dave Moore said after the Arden and Mountain Grove services on Sunday, it’s not a burden and something the branch is prepared to continue on with for as long as it’s necessary.
“It’s a 300-kilometre road trip,” said Moore. “Most of it is done by Ken Scobie..
“I used to meet him in Griffith during moose hunting to plan it out (but) it’s all got to be planned out and you can’t do it in one day.”
Hence, Remembrance Day services in Flinton and Denbigh are held on Nov. 10 (Denbigh at the traditional 11 a.m. for the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the First World War officially ended and Flinton at 1 p.m.). Services in Plevna are held Nov. 12 at 11 a.m.
“It generally starts the first week of October and I make about 400,000 phone calls,” Scobie said. “If you want to lay a wreath, send me an email.
“I carry the wreaths in my truck and Dave carries the flags in his car. It’s about getting all your ducks in a row.”
They do it in all kinds of weather too.
Last year, it rained mercilessly during the Flinton ceremony.
“And it was pretty cold in Denbigh Saturday morning,” said Moore. “But we can’t complain because soldiers in war have had to endure all sorts of bad weather.”
They see it as something that needs to be done, no excuses, and they intend to keep doing it.
“It’s our Remembrance Day services and it will be continued on,” said Moore.