Legion Exploring Banner Project

By Rosalind Russell – Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice is the focus of a new initiative by Espanola Royal Canadian Legion Branch #39.
Legion President, Gary McPherson, says the Legion will not only honour the 27 Espanola veterans who fell in battle in World War One and Two, the Korean conflict and in Afghanistan, present veterans and those who have passed on will also be part of the project.
McPherson adds 32 banners have already been purchased since the launch this week.
The idea for the banners originally came out of Saint John. Garth Zwicher, the secretary of Branch #26 in Sackville, New Brunswick, visited his father back on 2015. His father, a Korean War veteran, was living in the Ridgewood Veterans Facility. He found out that Saint John Legion Branch #69 was working with the facility on what was being called ‘the Banner Project’. The Legion, in cooperation with a local cemetery, advertised they would offer a limited number of banners, which would hang from hydro poles along a street in Saint John.
They sold out in two days with a waiting list for even more.
Zwicher also took the idea and ran with it.
Families provide the final proof of their veteran and it is transposed onto the vinyl banners. The idea has gained momentum from the east coast to British Columbia.
Zwicher says, “The town has been very supportive from the start and it was certainly a good feeling when families bought into the idea.
“When you see the pictures, hear the stories and become aware of the connections between the veterans, their family and the community, it really drives the point home about how these young men and woman volunteered to serve their country. Those fortunate to survive that service came home to help build the community.”
That commitment continues today and McPherson heartily believes the people of Espanola and area will embrace the project, a unique way to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
For more information, email: rcl-39@persona.ca or phone 705-869-1711. The cost per banner is $175 each.
McPherson emphasizes the banners can last about five years or so and are then turned over to the families.
McPherson adds all Espanola veterans, who have passed away will also be remembered in this unique way.

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