Three Langley Scout troops took turns cleaning veterans headstones at the Fort Langley cemetery where the cenotaph just before services in 2020 to prepare for Remembrance Day (Langley Advance Times files)

Three Langley Scout troops took turns cleaning veterans headstones at the Fort Langley cemetery where the cenotaph just before services in 2020 to prepare for Remembrance Day (Langley Advance Times files)

Fort Langley asks public to stay home and watch Remembrance Day event online

People can leaves wreaths and poppies at the cenotaph, just not on the morning of Nov. 11

The Fort Langley Remembrance Day Service will be taking place in person this year, but most of the public is being encouraged to view from home online.

“To keep our veterans and participants safe, the general public is discouraged from attending,” said Jonathan Meads, on the community committee that organizes the event. “We will be broadcasting a live stream of the service at the cenotaph, Fort Langley Cemetery. We encourage the public to watch from their homes. We believe this will be the safest way to show our respects and commemorate Remembrance Day.”

The service will be broadcast on the website: www.FortLangleyRemembers.com Nov. 11, starting at 10:15 a.m.

A larger area of the cemetery will be cordoned off to ensure COVID protocols are followed for those required to participate, and there will be no public access at the cenotaph until after 12 p.m. for laying poppies.

The Fort cemetery has a Celtic-cross cenotaph, installed at the same time as matching cairns in Murrayville’s cemetery.

People are asked to wear a mask at all times while in the cemetery and keep social distancing of six feet.

No commercial nor community group wreaths will be laid during the service – the public are encouraged to come to the cenotaph after noon to lay wreaths and poppies in a socially distanced manner, Meads explained.

“If you already have a wreath to be laid, please call Marilyn at 604-888-5350 to make arrangements,” he said.

All other wreath inquiries are to be sent to Madeline, 604-856-8814. She is at the Aldergrove Legion Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Her email address is rcl265@hotmail.com. Place orders before Nov. 5.

Direct questions to Andy Schildhorn, committee chair, at 778-835-8957 or Jonathan Meads, service director, at 604-841-8350.

The Fort Langley Remembrance Day Service is a now joint effort of the Fort Langley Remembrance Day Committee and the Fort Langley Lions Club.

The annual service now draws thousands of people. But for many years, there was no service at the Fort’s cenotaph. Like so many services, attendance had dwindled.

But on Nov. 11, 1999, Second World War veteran Gord Gillard walked into the Fort Gallery across the street from the cemetery, upset that there was nothing happening at one of the community’s first cenotaphs, which stood next to a veterans’ section.

The gallery’s Brenda Alberts joined him for an impromptu service of two at 11 a.m. that day.

Alberts assured Gillard there would be a proper service the following year, and there was.

The two helped organize the first few events, which have passed to other hands as attendance grew substantially.

Both Gillard and Alberts have since passed away.

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• READ MORE: Did you know local Scouts clean headstones at the Fort Langley Cemetery in advance of Remembrance Day?

• READ MORE: Community honours the woman who helped revive Fort Langley’s Remembrance service

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Remembrance Day