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What are 'Flags of Remembrance'?

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'Flags of Remembrance' is a national commemorative initiative that was launched in 2014 by Al Cameron, the founder of Veterans Voices of Canada – a non-profit organization whose main mission is "to document our Canadian military Veterans on camera for history and education, to be donated to schools, museums and libraries." Flags of Remembrance pays tribute to the men and women of Canada's armed forces, the Royal Canadian Military Police and First Responders in a visually stunning display of patriotism. Over the course of its existence, Flags of Remembrance has fluctuated in terms of number of communities participating in this initiative. In 2021, there are six communities sharing this celebration, including Sylvan Lake and Lacombe (Alberta), Dunnville and Windsor (Ontario), as well as Philipsburg (Québec). In past years, it also included as many as sixteen communities across Canada, including Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) shown in the photograph.

One hundred and twenty-eight Canadian flags line major roadways and pathways in participating communities, representing the 116,000 Canadian war dead and 12,000 missing in action from the South African War to the present. They also pay tribute to the officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and its predecessor, the Northwest Mounted Police, who have died in the line of duty. Each flag is accompanied by a sponsored 'plaque of honour' that recognizes and honours an individual veteran – past or currently serving – and is a tribute from family, friends, and comrades in arms. The flags and plaques are raised each fall and remain in place until the day after Remembrance Day. This year, due to the current Covid-19 Pandemic crisis, Veterans Voices of Canada felt that it was "important to honour our front line medical personnel heroes." As a safety measure for 2020 only, the host community partners are not holding any opening ceremony gatherings. This annual event also serves as a primary fundraiser for Veterans Voices of Canada so that they are able to fulfill their mandate to honour the sacrifice and commitment made by the military community.

On this day, 11 September 2021, we celebrate the 8th anniversary of this national initiative by Veterans Voices of Canada and honour all those Canadians who served in times of conflict since the South African War.

André M. Levesque

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