Veteran Voices of Canada is gearing up for another season of remembrance, and planning has already begun for this year’s Flags of Remembrance ceremony.
Al Cameron, founding president of Veteran Voices of Canada (VVOC), said he plans to continue to keep the ceremony something to be inspired by, adding he needs to up his game.
“The ceremony in Windsor is giving us a run for our money, and we need to up the ante,” said Cameron.
“The Flags of Remembrance started in Sylvan Lake and I want to continue making it an awesome experience.”
This year the Flags of Remembrance ceremony will be held across Canada in 10 different communities, with more still a possibility.
The ceremony will be held on Sept. 21 at noon MST, with all services across the country happening simultaneously.
Cameron said the ceremony and the flying of the flags up to Remembrance Day is a very emotional experience for all involved.
“I’ve seen many people walk the line of flags, and take in the honour plaques, and shed a few tears. And, I won’t lie, I have as well,” Cameron said.
The honour plaques are an important part of the service, and acts as a fundraiser for the VVOC.
According to Cameron, the plaques came as a response to people who came out to see the flags along Hwy. 11, between Sylvan Lake and Red Deer.
“I had people just come up and give me money, on the side of the road, after seeing the flags. I had to do something with the money, I couldn’t in good conscience take it without putting it towards something.”
Plaques are sold to families or businesses who wish to honour a member of their family who served, or are serving, in the military or RCMP.
This year, VVOC will also add first responders to the list of those honoured through the Flags of Remembrance.
Families or individuals wishing to purchase a plaque can do so for $250 each. A business can purchase a plaque for $500.
Corporate sponsorship is also available for $7,500.
“Something that most people don’t realize is that we actually donate up to $7,500 to local charities from the plaque sales,” said Cameron adding, “if the sales are lower, the amount donated will also be lower.”
VVOC donates to organizations that helps to support veterans. In the past they have made donations locally to the cadets out of Penhold and the Red Deer Pipe Band.
Cameron hopes in the future to see a permanent plaque placed in Centennial Park naming the site a Flags of Remembrance Site.
“Remembrance should be more than a day or a season, it should be all year.”
Honour plaques are now available to purchase through VVOC. Each plaque will be displayed under one of the 128 Canadian flags, which represents 128,000 Canadians killed or missing in action from World War I to current conflicts.
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