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128 flags unfurled along Sylvan Lake waterfront

The sixth annual Flags of Remembrance ceremony was held in Centennial Park on Sept. 21.
A group comforts one another during the emotional ceremony on Sept. 21. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

Centennial Park along Sylvan Lake’s waterfront is once again lined by 128 Canadian flags.

The flags were unfurled at noon on Sept. 21 as part of the annual Flags of Remembrance ceremony.

Veterans Voices of Canada hosted the event here in Sylvan Lake, as well as events in Windsor, Ont. and Sydney, N.S., to honour the 128,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have died.

Allan Cameron, Veterans Voices of Canada founder and Sylvan Lake event organizer, said this year’s ceremony went well, partially thanks to the good weather.

Lots of people turned out on Saturday to show their appreciation and support for veterans and first responders.

“We had a lot of people from all over Alberta and we actually had family members come from down in the States to be there to honour their veteran who had a plaque of honour,” said Cameron in a phone interview.

Alongside the friends, family members and supporters there were veterans who were able to make the trip to be there in person.

“The fact the guys and gals who are still with us, especially the WWII veterans, they come there and they see that we’re giving honour and tribute to them it’s just amazing to me and it’s so important,” explained Cameron. “It tells them that we’re not going to forget.”

The Flags of Remembrance Ceremony began six years ago and is a tradition Cameron is going to continue and grow.

Next year is the 15th anniversary of his organization, Veterans Voices of Canada, and he is aiming to have 15 communities across the country partake in the event for 2020.

There are also 128 Canadian flags lining Highway 11 between Sylvan Lake and Red Deer.

Cameron says to drive through them and understand their significance, but do not stop along the highway to take photos.

The flag’s original site was along the highway, and they will continue to be there year after year, but Cameron added a second set to Centennial Park to provide a safer spot to walk the line.

“If people are going to visit the site [to] walk the flag line and read those names, and that’s the important thing,” said Cameron. “That’s the idea of it, for people to remember by reading those names.”

He also asks that those at the site do not touch the plaques or the flags and be respectful of it.

“Everybody can enjoy it in the most respectful and honouring way,” added Cameron.

There is still a handful of honour plaques looking for sponsorship and those will be available on a first come first serve basis.

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A veteran stands next to a Canadian Flag during the Flags of Remembrance ceremony hosted by Veterans Voices of Canada on Sept. 21. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News
A man reaches to unfurl the flag along the line in Centennial Park on Sept. 21. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News
A line of Canadian Flags flap in the wind on Sept. 21. The line along the lakeshore features 128 flags honouring the 128,000 Canadians killed and missing in action. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News
A family works together to unfurl one of the 128 Canadian flags along the lakeshore in Centennial Park. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

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