Though some have called for it to remain permanently, Veterans Voices of Canada’s (VVOC) Flags of Tribute campaign will wrap up with a closing ceremony next week.
On Nov. 15, the program’s sponsors will gather at the 116 Canadian flags east of Sylvan Lake on Highway 11, where they’ll each be presented with a flag and plaque.
The event, according to VVOC founding CEO Allan Cameron, will continue with the campaign’s theme of remembrance while thanking sponsors for their participation.
“First and foremost, it’s about remembrance,” he said. “It’s a tribute and honour to our veterans and the guys and girls who are listen on those plaques from World War I right up to Afghanistan veterans, deceased and current.”
Flags will likely be lowered prior to the event, which starts at noon. It will mark the end of the flag campaign’s first year, which Cameron said has exceeded organizers’ expectations.
“I’ve been getting emails from veterans all around the world saying thank you for doing this,” he said. “It’s doing what we wanted it to do. We wanted people to see this, we wanted them to come together, we wanted them to remember our veterans and give tribute and honour, and I think we’ve accomplished that and beyond.”
The 116 flags — each representing 1,000 fallen Canadian soldiers since 1900 — were donated by MLAs, MPs and senators from all across Canada. Each one was sponsored by a group or individual in honour of a Canadian veteran.
“The individual sponsors and the family sponsors — without all of the support that they’ve given, it would have been less of a success, but with their help it’s been an amazing success,” said Cameron.
Planning for next year’s campaign, which could see flags raised throughout the entire country, will begin almost immediately after the Nov. 15 ceremony, he added.
VVOC volunteers have been working hard to maintain the flag display since it was erected late last month. Anyone who spots a flag requiring maintenance is encouraged to contact the organization at 403-358-6313.
“We want it to be a solemn place while it’s there,” said Cameron. “It’s a tribute, so we want people to go there, take a minute to reflect and respect, and if anybody ever sees anything not right about it, give us a yell.”