Lethbridge will have new banners hanging this year to recognize past and present veterans as the local Royal Canadian Legion branch launches a new three-year program. The Salute Our Veterans banner initiative is a partnership between the Legion and the 702 Wing Lethbridge Royal Canadian Air Force Association and is supported by the city.
“This program is a way to help promote remembrance in our community and it’s also a way to help educate students and citizens on some of the faces and stories of service of our veterans”, said Ray Romses, chairperson for the program’s committee. “We believe the program will allow members of our community to connect with the everyday people who made that extraordinary decision to serve their country.”
This year, 91 banners will be hung from city light posts in locations with military significance and the goal is to have 80 each year until 2024.
“Putting up and taking down of banners, it all costs money so without the support of the city and our sponsors and donors this project would simply not be able to take place,” Romses said.
There will be 26 hung in the city hall area; 13 in the block surrounding the Legion; four in the area of the Army Navy and Airforce Club; 18 around the airport and 30 in the area of the City Health Centre, which used to be a train station.
“Almost every veteran leaving for world war one and world war two and then coming back from those wars, went through that train station,” Romses said.
The program will also give people an opportunity to sponsor banners for $225. People can submit an application on a new website made for the program, which will also show the faces and stories behind the banners.
“In the eight years of being on council and this short time as mayor, this is one the most exciting things that we have been able to do,” said Mayor Blaine Hyggen. “This is nothing short of amazing and I am so glad to be part of this.”
Romses said he wants the banners and website, Lethbridgeveteransbanners.ca, to engage the community in honouring local veterans in a colorful and vibrant way.
The deadline to sponsor a banner is June 30 and he said it will be a first come, first served basis.