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Fort Macleod Legion embarks on Memorial Banner Project

Fort Macleod residents can recognize Canadian veterans on banners that will be placed on street light posts this fall. The Memorial Banner Project is a fund-raiser for the Legion’s Poppy Fund.

Fort Macleod will honour its veterans in a new way this fall.

The names and photos of veterans of wars and peacekeeping missions will be  on banners placed on 44 street light posts in Fort Macleod.

Proceeds from the memorial banners project will go to the Legion’s annual Poppy Fund.

“It’s memorializing the vets for the families,” Legion administrator Liz Gill said of the banner project’s appeal.

Gill said with each passing year society gets further away from the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War.

“Most of the veterans who will be sponsored here are from World War Two or the Korean War,” Gill said. “As we move forward in life history is being lost. Whether they made the ultimate sacrifice or just sacrificed their lives for five years, it’s a huge sacrifice.”

“It’s nice to be able to give the families a way to memorialize their father, grandfather, or whoever it is.”

The banners are to be put on the street light posts in conjunction with Remembrance Day as another way to make people aware of the sacrifice.

People can buy one of the 26.5-inch by 54-inch banners for $220. The veteran’s photo and name is on both sides of the banner.

There is also an option of buying an additional 12-inch by 24-inch banner for $90 for display in the sponsor’s home or office.

The number of banners that can sold is based on the 44 street light posts on which the banners can be placed in Fort Macleod.

So far, five banners have been bought and Gill has fielded inquiries from another 30 people.

The fund-raising tribute was suggested to the Legion in Fort Macleod by a woman who had honoured her veteran father in High River in a similar way.

The woman’s father had been a Legion member and resident in Fort Macleod during the war, and the woman suggested she would pay for a banner here as well.

It took the High River Legion three years to sell all the banners possible in that town.

Gill is hopeful Fort Macleod can sell out in less time.

“It’s hard to know when you first launch these things,” Gill said.

People can sponsor banners for veterans other than family members. The veteran does not have to be from Fort Macleod.

“It can be any veteran, from anywhere, from any war,” Gill explained. “They don’t have to be from here. There’s really no restrictions on it. It can literally be anyone that you want to sponsor who was a veteran.”

Veterans of peacekeeping missions are eligible, as are RCMP veterans.

Gill praised the Town of Fort Macleod for its support of the banner project.

Town staff helped with estimating costs and will install the banners at no cost to the Legion.

Liz Gill and the Legion executive are hopeful Fort Macleod will make the most of this opportunity.

“It’s so important as we get further along in time to get the message out more, not less,” Gill said. This is just a way to keep anybody who has sacrificed to serve the country in any way.”

“It’s an exciting project, and long overdue.”

For more information contact the Legion at 403-553-3121 or legion46@shaw.ca.

An information flyer is included in the Aug. 18 edition of The Macleod Gazette.

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