A flag is raised as trumpeter Les Vidok plays during a ceremony for the Flags of Remembrance campaign Saturday afternoon.

Flags raised in highway remembrance display

A patriotic flag display on Highway 11 east of Sylvan Lake is paying honour to Canada’s war dead this month.

A patriotic flag display on Highway 11 east of Sylvan Lake is paying honour to Canada’s war dead this month.

On Saturday, a ceremony marked the beginning of Veterans Voices of Canada’s (VVOC) Flags of Remembrance tribute, which has 116 Canadian flags installed along a fence on the side of the highway.

Flags were made available for sponsorship, with 84 of the total having been sponsored by press time. Money raised through sponsorship, which requires a $200 minimum donation, supports VVOC’s historical-educational documentation of Canada’s veterans.

VVOC founding CEO Allan Cameron has had the flag tribute in mind for several years now, and is proud to see it finally come to fruition.

“About three or four years ago, I wanted to do something like this, and a flag tribute is what I was thinking about,” he said. “Several months ago, I decided it’s going to happen.”

Each of the flags represents 1,000 fallen Canadian soldiers between 1900 and 2014. The tribute has attracted plenty of attention since the flags were raised late last week, and Cameron feels the tribute is fulfilling its purpose of remembrance.

“I’ve had military personnel service people in my family, and it’s my way of giving back to veterans in general,” he said. “I knew it was going to be an amazing thing, and I knew once people saw it that it would bring them out and make them realize what’s happening, but to see it happen, it makes me a happy guy.”

This week, flags will be accompanied by plaques recognizing sponsorship and commemorating Canadian veterans. The flags and plaques will then be presented to sponsors during a ceremony marking the end of the campaign on Nov. 15.

Flags may be sponsored until around Nov. 12 or 13, or until sponsorship availability runs out, said Cameron.

Interest in the campaign has come not just from the national media attention it’s garnered in the past week, he added, but also from the spectacle created by the display.

“People driving by are seeing what’s there and they want to be a part of it,” he said. “It gives people pride and it makes them think. It makes them realize that we have to give respect and we have to give tribute and honour our service people, and in effect, our protectors.”

Cameron said the tribute will take place again next year not just in Central Alberta, but all across Canada.

Information on flag sponsorship is available by contacting Cameron at ac@vetvoicecan.org.

 

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