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Veterans Voices of Canada Flags of Remembrance ceremony held Sept. 24 in Lacombe

Lacombe Express - 9/26/2022

In a tribute to the sacrifices made by many, the Veterans Voices of Canada Flags of Remembrance ceremony was held Sept. 24 at the Pentagon Farm Centre at Lacombe.

"To have the public and the Legion - who host this event for Veterans Voices of Canada - here is so special," said Kathy Hobbs, past president of the executive of Royal Canadian Legion Lacombe Branch #79.

"The Canadian flag stands for what our soldiers fought for. And to come here on a beautiful day like today and unfurl them to let them fly for six weeks is the most visually moving sight we can offer in memory of those sacrifices," she said, adding that Pentagon Farm Centre sponsors the event while the local Legion hosts it.

It's all of course been spearheaded by Veterans Voices of Canada.

"We arrange for all the sponsorships of the flags of which there are still 36 which we have (available) for sponsorship," she explained.

In total, 128 flags have been put up along Hwy. 12 in front of Pentagon Farm Centre.

They remain up through to Nov. 12.

Also in attendance at the Sept. 24 ceremony were the Blackfalds detachment of the RCMP, City of Lacombe Police, Dean Shingoose, who is a knowledge keeper and cultural adviser from the Treaty 4 community; Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey, County Reeve Barb Shepherd among other dignitaries.

Hobb said as a Legion member, she is very aware of the contributions and sacrifices Indigenous soldiers made during the Second World War.

"Many never were recognized and I see this as Lacombe's chance to honour them as we strive to recognize all who served. The other part, for me, is personal - my husband is Métis and exposing both of us to more of his heritage and culture leads to a greater understanding of his ancestors' way of life."

Hobbs said this is the second year Lacombe has hosted the ceremony for Veterans Voices of Canada.

Joe Sampson, first vice president of the Royal Canadian Legion Lacombe Branch #79, said that the event is a great start to the Remembrance Day season.

"Every flag here represents 1,000 souls - starting with the Boer War and including all of the wars that we have had - that Canada has participated in.

"So we have lost approximately 128,000 Canadians. This is a great way to remember them. Every flag you see - most of them have been sponsored by individuals and companies in the Lacombe area," he explained.

The flags along with honour plaques are ultimately given to the related sponsor.

As to the Sept. 24 ceremony (another of which is held at Sylvan Lake), he said in total there are four scheduled to run at the same time across Canada.

"Here in Alberta we start to unfurl the flags at noon, and in Ontario they start to unfurl theirs at 10 a.m. So we have the same timing - everyone follows the same set-up. We also read out the names of everyone who has been honoured today."

As mentioned, if anyone is interested in sponsoring one of the remaining flags, they can call the Legion office at 403-782-6441.

For Hobbs, this season which of course culminates in Remembrance Day is absolutely vital – but of course, the mission of encouraging citizens to remember the sacrifices made on our behalf should be recognized throughout the year.

"It was a perfect day. I never tire of seeing our Canada flags fly free," she said. "It is such a visual reminder of our proud country and how lucky we are to live here."