Sylvan Lake gathers to honour the fallen at annual Flags of Remembrance ceremony

Flags of Remembrance, Sept. 12, 2020. Photos by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Flags of Remembrance, Sept. 12, 2020. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Flags of Remembrance, Sept. 12, 2020. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Flags of Remembrance, Sept. 12, 2020. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Flags of Remembrance, Sept. 12, 2020. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Flags of Remembrance, Sept. 12, 2020. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Flags of Remembrance, Sept. 12, 2020. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Flags of Remembrance, Sept. 12, 2020. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Flags of Remembrance, Sept. 12, 2020. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Flags of Remembrance, Sept. 12, 2020. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Flags of Remembrance, Sept. 12, 2020. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

This year’s rendition of the Flags of Remembrance ceremony was smaller than normal, but no less stirring for those present.

One hundred and twenty-eight flags were placed in Centennial Park along with 79 plaques with names of a veteran acting as a guardian, according to Al Cameron, founder of Veteran Voices of Canada and the Flags of Remembrance.

“Each flag represents 1,000 soldiers and the name on the plaque acts as a sort of guardian for the guys and gals,” Cameron said.

Family members of fellow veterans stood at attention as a lone piper played.

It was a quiet and somber event, which brought in the season of remembrance.

“It is smaller than in years past, but no less important,” said Cameron. “We normally have the Red Deer Pipe and Drum band come to play, but this year we have one piper, he’s a 13- or 14-year-old, and its great to have him.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions to gathering sizes, a full ceremony was not in the cards this year, but Cameron says the meaning behind the 128 Canadian flags still remains.

“If you weren’t able to come to the ceremony, and a lot of people weren’t able to, I still encourage everyone to take a minute and come down and walk the flag line and read the names.”

Normally the Flags of Remembrance ceremony has between 400 and 800 people in attendance. This year there was less than 200.

Veteran Voices of Canada will be making a donation to the Sylvan Lake Food Bank based on the proceeds from the sale of honour plaques.

Had all 128 plaques been sold before Sept. 12, a donation of $5,000 would have been made. As it stands, a smaller donation will be made in its place.

“We weren’t able to sell all the plaques [by Sept. 12] but we still want to do something,” Cameron said.

There are roughly 50 honour plaques still available for sponsorship. Those looking to sponsor a plaque on behalf of a military, first responder or frontline medical hero can contact Al Cameron at ac@vetvoicecan.org before Nov. 1.

The Flags of Remembrance display will be up until Nov. 12 in Centennial Park in Sylvan Lake.

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