The sun rose in a glorious red sky on Nov. 11, a harbinger of the unusually warm fall day and the Remembrance Day ceremony that followed.
Although this year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the military and civilian ceremony held at the Cross of Sacrifice on Grande Allée in Quebec City was greatly reduced in size, due to the pandemic.
There was no marching band playing “O Canada” or military music. There were no ranks of soldiers and sailors standing proudly at attention. There was no bagpiper to play a lament. There was no 21-gun salute. There were no military sentries standing around the base of the cross.
The general public was not encouraged to attend the ceremony, but a few dozen determined people came to observe and pay their respects to the fallen and the veterans of past military conflicts.
Eight wreaths were pre-placed at the foot of the cenotaph on behalf of members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Legion and local politicians, including Premier François Legault and Jean-Yves Duclos, MP for Québec. Each person approached the foot of the cross and bowed their head or saluted before moving aside to make way for the next.
At 11 a.m., just before the lone trumpeter played “The Last Post” and “Reveille,” three Griffon helicopters flew overhead.
Soon after, the sparse crowd began to disperse, but several people, including veterans, lingered to make their own way to the foot of the cross.
Lest we forget.
A lone trumpeter played “The Last Post” and “Reveille.” (Photo by Cassandra Kerwin)