There are 250 flags waving in the wind between Red Deer and Sylvan Lake to honour those helping others amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canadian, provincial, municipal and international flags have been raised along Highway 11 as part of Flags of Unity, a Veterans Voices of Canada tribute to health care workers and first responders.
“This is an opportunity to honour those … who are out there every day in front of who knows what – we really don’t know how this virus works, what it does and how it acts,” said Al Cameron, Veteran Voices of Canada founding CEO.
“We’ve got all these people out there putting their lives on the line each day in central Alberta, across Canada and across the world. We have to make sure we honour these people because they’re so important to us.”
Veterans Voices of Canada hosts Flags of Remembrance in Sylvan Lake each year, but the 2020 event was pushed back to September due to the pandemic. Flags of Remembrance will not have opening or closing ceremonies due to physical distancing requirements.
Cameron’s wife is a nurse at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.
“She’s a big part of the reason (Flags of Unity) is happening. We were walking and talking one day and we decided doing this tribute would be good,” he said.
“I went through radiation treatment for cancer up until about … three weeks ago, and she was even afraid to come home, with my immunity system being knocked down. How many people are in that circumstance with this crisis?”
Flag of Unity is raising money for the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation’s mechanical ventilators initiative, Cameron said. General donations are being accepting and sponsors are being sought for Honour Plaques – 50 per cent of money raised will go toward the foundation and the rest will go toward Veterans Voices of Canada.
“We’re really hoping we can get all of these plaques sponsored,” Cameron said, adding he hopes to raise as much as $30,000 for the foundation.
“This is a thank you to all the frontliners, the medical personnel, health-care personnel for all they’re doing. This is for them. It’s another way for Veterans Voices of Canada to say thank you to another category of heroes.”
The goal was to raise all or most of the flags by the end of Saturday. The flags will continue to be flown until July 6.
For more information or to sponsor a plaque, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.