Flags placed along Hwy. 11 near Sylvan Lake are looked after by local group as symbols of Remembrance. Black Press file

Sylvan Lake shoreline flags wrongfully replaced by well-meaning citizen

Al Cameron of VVOC says a loose thread is not enough to replace the Canadian flags on lakeshore

Al Cameron with Veteran Voices of Canada is reminding residents to keep the flags and plaques in their rightful place along the lakeshore.

Since the Flags of Remembrance were put up in Centennial Park and along Hwy. 11 Cameron says some well-meaning individuals have been trying to help but going about it in the wrong way.

A couple of the flags have been taken down and replaced by citizen concerned with regular wear and tear.

Cameron says some believe a loose thread is considered disrespectful to the flag and what it stands for.

“They think it is disrespectful but it’s not… a loose thread does not constitute them being replaced,” Cameron said, adding the flags wear at the same rate and replacing some is noticeable to the eye.

“The only reason I can think of for them to be replaced is if someone took a knife [and slashed it].”

While Cameron says it is nice to see the concern from those taking in the display, he asks to not take matters into ones own hands.

If there are concerns with the wear and tear of the flags he says it is best to contact him to take care of it.

“Sure if a flag gets a bit tangled in the trees or something you can untangle it, but please don’t take it down and replace it,” said Cameron.

The couple flags that have been replaced have been done so with a less quality of flag. The flags standing at attention around Centennial Park are the “high quality, $75 ones.”

Cameron says each flags has been donated to the cause.

“You can tell that they just aren’t the same quality… I’m really hoping someone didn’t do it just so they can have a nice flag.”

Four honour plaques have also gone missing since the opening ceremony on Sept. 21. They have since been replaced by Veteran Voices of Canada.

“It’s just a shame, I really can’t say why someone would do that,” he said.

There are two other Flags of Remembrance locations in Canada, one in Windsor, Ont. and the other in Sydney, NS.

Neither one of the locations have experienced the same difficulties as the Central Alberta site.

“I’m not sure what it is about here, but we aren’t seeing it at our other locations,” Cameron said, adding this isn’t the first time the honour plaques have gone missing.

While this isn’t the first time something similar has happened, Cameron says this year has overall been a positive one for the act of remembrance.

He says there have been many people coming down to the lakefront, walking the flag line and reading the names on the plaques.

“It has been a pretty good year. We still have 11 plaques that we want filled by the time Remembrance Day comes around.”

The flags will be up until Nov. 12, and Cameron hopes all the plaques will be sponsored by then so people can take in the display on Remembrance Day.

After the flags have been taken down, a public closing ceremony will be held on Nov. 23 at the Alliance Church. This ceremony is similar to the first, and the sponsors will be presented with their plaques.

For more information about Flags of Remembrance, or to sponsor a plaque, visit www.vetvoicecan.org.

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