128 Canadian Flags were unfurled along Windsor’s riverfront this past weekend as tribute to the 128,000 Canadians killed and missing in action while serving and protecting our country. The 5th Annual Cross Canada Veterans Voices of Canada Flags of Remembrance took place across Canada and for the second time in Windsor at Assumption Park on Saturday, September 22, 2018.
Every year, 128 Canadian flags are erected along major roadways and highly visible locations in participating communities, representing the 128,000 Canadians killed and missing in action. This includes the 116,000 Canadian soldiers lost in armed conflict from the Boer War to the present, as well as the 12,000 soldiers Missing in Action. In addition, the ceremony also honours 234 officers with the RCMP and its predecessor the Northwest Mounted Police, who have died in the line of duty.
Each flag is accompanied by a sponsored “Hero plaque”. It recognizes and honours individual Veterans past or currently serving, and is a tribute from family, friends and other caring people.
A Hero Plaque, sponsored by members of the Essex Spitfire Memorial committee, featured the name of local WWII Ace Fighter Pilot Jerry Billing. The Essex Memorial Spitfire monument featuring a replica of Billing’s WWII Spitfire and an honour wall pays tribute to second world war Royal Canadian Air Force and British Royal Air Force Veterans from Windsor Essex. The honour wall has the names of these brave veterans etched on it. The committee has decided that each year they will each contribute funds towards sponsoring a Hero Plaque, starting with the one for Jerry Billing.
On Facebook Rita Ossington posted, “Remembered our dad Henry (Harry) Frederick Hayes at the Flags of Remembrance ceremony Saturday. Three generations attended, 6 of his 9 children, grandchildren and great a grandchild, . He struggled to talk about his time overseas, like so many.However the positive was he met and married our mother who also served in the Air Force.”
Charlotte Ross along with three of her children paid tribute to her father, Private Gerald Derochie who served in the Glengarry Highlanders Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Army from 1943 to 1946. Not only did the family sponsor a Hero Plaque, they put together a framed collection of items including a photo of Derochie, coins, bracelet, a Canadian Flag image, and a copy of the poem In Flanders Fields.”
This Flags of Remembrance initiative is designed to pay tribute to the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans in a visually stunning display of patriotism. The flags and plaques are raised on the first Saturday in October each year (it happened a little earlier this year) and are taken down after Remembrance Day.
In 2018, the closing ceremonies will be held on November 24th at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 255 in Riverside at 11am.
A key factor to making this tribute unique is how all flags are raised from coast to coast at the same moment, unifying all Veterans Voices of Canada Chapter locations, tributes and participating Canadians.
This annual, national event also serves as Veterans Voices of Canada’s primary fundraiser. All monies raised through the VVOC Flags of Remembrance is used to fulfill the mandate of the VVOC organization: interviewing Veterans, transcribing interviews, donating produced interviews to educational institutions across Canada and helping local organizations plan and manage their VVOC Flags of Remembrance celebrations.
For more information or to sponsor a Hero Plaque next year please visit the Veterans Voices of Canada Flags of Remembrance Windsor Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/FlagsOfRemembranceWindsorON/