A tribute to Canadian soldiers missing or killed in action is returning to Sylvan Lake this fall, and the community’s participation is already being sought.
The Flags of Remembrance tribute, put together by Veterans Voices of Canada, saw 116 flags erected along the south side of Highway 11 east of Sylvan Lake last year.
This year there will be 128 flags, with over half still needing to be sponsored.
The flags will be raised Saturday, Oct. 17 at noon, at which time they’ll be manned by a service person in uniform.
The flags and their accompanying engraved plaques will this time line both sides of Highway 11, and each represent 1,000 soldiers.
Veterans Voices of Canada founding executive director and producer Allan Cameron fondly remembers people walking along the row of flags and reading the names on the plaques last year.
“It was pretty amazing when you see people walking the flag line and reading each of the names,” he said. “It means the names of those veterans on those plaques will never be forgotten.”
For the first time, the tribute is also taking place across the country in Kelowna, Ponoka, Kingston, Amherst and Charlottetown.
“It’s a visual reminder,” Cameron said. “This is a visual way for people to see what we do.”
The initiative is meant to remember, honour and give tribute to past and present war veterans, and show patriotism.
It’s a also a good fundraiser for Veterans Voices of Canada, and helps the organization continue documenting veterans’ stories for historical and educational purposes, Cameron said.
“We need to show we’re proud of our county and our veterans, and what Canada stands for.”
Cameron’s hope is for all of the flags to be sponsored by the end of this month, allowing plenty of time for the plaques to be engraved.
For those who wish to sponsor a flag, but need a veteran’s name, Cameron can suggest many.
“It would be sad to see any of those flags not sponsored or not have a name on them,” he said. “I’m fairly confident that as long as people know about it, they will sell out.”
Some of the veterans named on last year’s plaques were even able to take in the tribute and its accompanying ceremonies, he added.
“What’s really cool about this is it shows the (veterans) who are with us now that we’re honouring and paying tribute to them now,” Cameron said. “They know that even when they are gone, we’re still going to be remembering them.”
The flags and plaques will be taken down Nov. 12 and given to sponsors during a closing ceremony at a location yet to be determined.
Businesses, organizations and community members are being invited to sponsor the remaining flags. Information on doing so is available by contacting Veterans Voices of Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org.