The Flags of Remembrance closing ceremony took place Saturday at H.J. Cody School where sponsors received their plaques along with the Canadian flag it accompanied.
Around 125 plaques were sponsored this year. Sponsors of these plaques had the unique opportunity of posting these plaques to a flag poleon Oct. 17 at the Flags of Remembrance ceremony along Highway 11.
These flags were put up close to a month prior to Remembrance Day as Veterans Voices of Canada executive director and producer AllanCameron said he and his group felt that Remembrance Day should be every day.
“As far as the flags go we want them up as long as possible but at the same time realizing they have to go up but then come back down again,”Cameron said. “A month ahead of Remembrance Day is good because we get people thinking more on a daily basis to remember our heroes and veterans, which is important.”
The plaques were engraved with the name of a past, current or lost in action person who served our country. The plaques and flags were taken down Nov. 12. The flags were neatly folded and were given to their sponsor during the ceremony on Saturday.
These sponsored plaques raised around $16,000 with the money raised going back to Veteran Voices of Canada to pay for the plaques and tohelp the organization continue documenting veterans’ stories for historical and educationional purposes.
This event was well attended with both veterans and community members and served as a final thank you to past, current and lost in action veterans for the year.
Cameron said the ceremony went well adding it was amazing to see all the people that came out to be a part of it all.
“It was emotional and just makes me realize there’s lots of support for this,” Cameron said. “It wasn’t just sponsors who were there, it was also other people who just wanted to come along and experience it. It’s very neat to see that.”
He said this tells him that there’s a lot of people who understand what they are trying to do and how a lot of people support our veterans.
The closing ceremony began with the Sylvan Lake Legion Colour Party posting different flags to the left of the audience, with recording artistJodie Leslie singing the national anthem in English and French combined into one.
This all led to Cameron sharing why it is important to keep history alive and why he thanks veterans for serving our country.
“Some people look at Remembrance Day in the November period and we’re trying to make it so that it’s extended,” Cameron said. “We wantRemembrance Day to be every day, so we’re doing what we can do.”
The audience watched a video of the raising the flags ceremony for Flags of Remembrance which took place last month on both sides ofhighway 11. This showed the audience a bird’s eye view of over 120 flags standing tall and free, representing 128,000 Canadian veterans deadand missing in action.
After this video the solemnness was felt in the audience as emotions of gratitude, appreciation and sadness for a loved one was seen on many different faces.
Korean war veteran Colonel Andrew Moffat then got up and spoke about his experiences.
Moffat’s speech was powerful and gave insight to the audience as to what he and his fellow soldiers went through while fighting.
Something that hit home was how Moffat and his soldier friends were given old equipment to work with. He explained how the equipment was so old that while trying to test the equipment it would backfire and killed some of his friends.
“It felt like the government didn’t care about us,” he said.
He went on to say that in 1945 people did not want to hear the word ‘war’.
After speaking on his experience fighting in the Korean war and upon returning to sit back down in his chair Moffat received a standing ovation and the audience expressed their gratitude for his service. This is when he smiled at them and waved almost to say ‘you’re welcome’.
Jodie Leslie than sang her remembrance song ‘Keep Your Memory Alive’.
It was then time for members of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets to present 125 plaques and flags to the sponsors.
Allan Cameron announced the name inscribed on each plaque along with the sponsor of the plaque.
The Cadets lined up with plaques neatly in hand and respectfully gave each plaque to it’s sponsor and posed for a photo.