As part of an initiative through Veterans Voices of Canada, on September 22, 128 flags will fly in each of the six cities currently represented. One flag represents 1,000 Veterans, killed, or missing-in-action from the First World War to Afghanistan.
Veterans Voices of Canada seeks to ensure every Veteran is remembered. Allan Cameron, founder of Veterans Voices of Canada, was inspired by his own family’s military history.
“I lost the opportunity to document their stories because they passed away before we had the opportunity,” said Cameron. “The main mission for Veterans Voices of Canada is to travel and document the stories of our Veterans so that other families they’ll have the option or opportunity to hear what their family’s Veteran sacrificed.”
In 2014, Cameron recalls approaching his board and committee and telling them they were going to place 128 flags along the highway. He said he wanted to help people visually remember these sacrifices.
“When you drive down the highway, and you see 128 full-sized flags extending for approximately a kilometre, how can you miss that? You can’t. You’re going to start asking questions. Why are those flags there?” said Cameron.
It’s through those questions, Cameron said that people learn to remember and think about our Veterans, past, present, and future.
“I’ve gotten many calls, e-mails from a lot of parents saying they drive down the highway and their kids would ask, ‘What are these flags for?’ and the parents would explain to them what it was all about,” he added.
In Sylvan Lake, Cameron has ensured 128 flags grace both sides of the highways, so when you drive past, it’s like driving through a tunnel of flags.
“It gives everybody a really good feeling. It makes them remember, it makes them think and that’s what it’s all about,” said Cameron.
The six communities currently involved are Sylvan Lake, Alberta, which Cameron refers to as the ‘Mother Site’ because that’s where it all began; Ponoka, Alberta; Windsor, Ontario; Bathurst, New Brunswick; Sydney, Nova Scotia, “which is my hometown. Very proud to have one back at the hometown,” Cameron added; and Charlottetown, PEI.
One day, Cameron would like to see 128 communities involved in the Flags of Remembrance simultaneously.
“That’s the intention. We’ve got a lot of work to do yet,” he added.
Cameron has extended his deadline for flag sponsorship. They are currently at 50 per cent capacity in each community so he would like to see that number grow.
“To make this truly successful, we want to see 128 flags flying,” he added.
Veterans Voices of Canada requests $200 to sponsor a flag and an honour plaque that can be sponsored by anyone who wishes to honour a Veteran. Any funds raised beyond the 128 flags will go to a charity of each community’s choosing.
“They can be someone who served for Canada 100 years ago, it can be somebody who’s serving now, it can be somebody who served in the past and still with us, so as long as they served, in the Canadian Military or the RCMP,” said Cameron. “Then, on September 22, those honour plaques will be seen at each site on the flag poles.”
On November 12, the flags come down, and both the flag and the honour plaque are given to the sponsor, or whomever the sponsor has chosen to gift it to.
“It’s a very emotional time for some, to see all those flags coming down,” Cameron added.
For more information on how you can sponsor a flag for a Veteran, you can visit the Veterans Voices of Canada website here.