Remembrance Day goes digital to help Manitobans pay respects

Remembrance Day ceremonies are taking a hit as COVID-19 restrictions shut down large gatherings, so the province of Manitoba is going digital to help people pay their respects.

Although people won’t be able to visit the 26-metre-long blanket made of over 8,000 hand-sewn poppies that will be displayed on the grand staircase of the Manitoba Legislative Building, images of it will be posted and available to the public as part of the 2020 “Manitoba Remembers” campaign.

The province will also share images from communities around Manitoba of upgraded and refurbished memorials dedicated to veterans, according to a Friday news release from the province.

WATCH | Drive-thru poppy sale raises funds for veterans:

Winnipeg’s group size limits mean crowds of poppy-wearing people won’t be gathering this year, but that isn’t stopping Ken Onagi from trying to help raise money for veterans. 2:45

And a digital photo frame, honouring Remembrance Day, will be available for people to use on their Facebook profile photos. Search for “Manitoba Remembers” in the “add photo frame” tab under “edit profile picture” on Facebook.

The efforts are being made in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Legion, which has turned to online methods to support legions and veterans, including a way to create a personalized digital poppy.

“We owe veterans our gratitude and respect, but under COVID-19 we cannot gather together to show them our appreciation as we have in the past,” Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox said in a news release.

“We must not let this moment pass and I ask all Manitobans to join with us in taking a few moments to think about their sacrifice.”

The provincial Archives of Manitoba is also inviting the public to look at exhibits and digitized copies of records available online.

It plans to highlight several resources, including letters from Manitoba soldiers who served in the First World War and a Manitoba government film that documents how Manitobans contributed to the war effort during the Second World War.

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