Today at noon in gusting winds, 128 full sized flags were raised in Centennial Park representing 128,000 Canadians killed and missing in action military and RCMP service personnel from the Boer War until today.
The event featured the Red Deer Pipe and Drum band playing “Amazing Grace” while two veterans on horseback rode past each flag and the flags were unfurled one at a time.
The list on the hero plaques of those lost in battle were read aloud by founding executive director for Veterans Voices of Canada (VVOC), Allan Cameron. As he read the names of those lost, his voice broke several times and many people in attendance had tears in their eyes.
A moment of silence was observed and “Last Post” and “Reveille” were played by a veteran bugler. Each flag is sponsored by friends, family or others in the community in recognition of individual veterans who have served or are currently serving.
Mayor Sean McIntyre spoke at the event and is proud of having the flags raised in this community. “This is such an incredible event and I’m very happy we have the opportunity host it here,” he said.
In a message on his Facebook page, McIntyre thanked those who made the day possible and for gathering as a community in remembrance, “What you are doing is powerful, meaningful, and growing into a national movement. We are proud to be part of Flags of Remembrance and what has become a tradition of honour.”
The flags will fly along HWY 11 until Nov. 11, Remembrance Day.
Cameron has been organizing the event in the Sylvan Lake area since 2014. Sylvan Lake is the original 2014 site to host a procession of veterans, EMT, police and first responders of all categories, cadets and representatives from the Royal Canadian Legion.
This annual event is also a fundraiser with all money raised being put towards giving a voice to veterans and educating the country about their service.
Communities across the country holding the event include several places in Alberta including Sylvan Lake, Ponoka, Edson and Whitecourt. In B.C. the event is held in Vernon. Manitoba has one event in Beausejour and Ontario has three events in Ottawa, Kingston and Windsor. New Brunswick holds an event in Riverview. Sydney is the site for the event in Nova Scotia and PEI holds the event in Charlottetown.
“We plan many more communities to be part [of the events] in the future, with at least one of our sites in each province and territory,” Cameron wrote in an email.