A recent letter to the Summerland Review voiced concerns about this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony.
The Summerland Legion is responsible for the ceremony.
Although the basic format of the ceremony is consistent throughout the nation, each community tailors the observance based on local tradition and conditions.
The first complaint was that the wreaths are removed too quickly after the event.
Officially there is no protocol for the duration of wreath displays for Remembrance Day.
As one of the many Legion volunteers, I have been responsible for retrieving the wreaths on the evening of Remembrance Day.
My experience has been that, unfortunately weather dictates that the wreaths need to be removed on a timely basis as quite often the windy rainy conditions topple the wreaths.
The Legion membership feels that wreaths scattered about the park is disrespectful.
In the past, wreaths have been stolen and vandalized.
Despite the above, next year I will attempt to affix a single wreath to the cenotaph, which can hopefully remain safely overnight.
The second complaint was that the public address system performed poorly. It was purchased at great expense by the Legion just a few years ago.
We acknowledge that it did not perform adequately on Nov. 11.
We are unsure if this was caused by poor placement of the speakers, the windy conditions or possibly that the equipment is not suitable for the larger crowds. The public address system will be tested by the Legion on Canada Day with the goal to rectify this problem.
It is the Legion’s objective to continuously improve the Remembrance Day experience in Summerland with the goal of honouring our fallen properly and in a manner that meets the expectations of the community.
In summary, I personally am distressed that critics are compelled to play out their opinions in the popular press, rather than voicing concerns directly to the person or organization responsible.