Families of St. Anthony veterans hope a new initiative to hang banners displaying the images of local veterans will help ensure their continued recognition.
The Honour Our Veterans Banner Program was organized by a local committee in St. Anthony and has produced 12 banners honouring local veterans and service members.
The banners were unveiled, with family members on hand, at the Royal Canadian Legion in St. Anthony last Sunday.
Each banner will be hung from hydro poles on East Street, on the town’s Remembrance Day parade route between the Anglican Church and the Royal Canadian Legion.
They will be displayed through Remembrance Day and will be hung again in June for the Memorial Day ceremony on July 1.
For families of veterans, the initiative means a lot.
Wavey Noel was on hand for the unveiling of a banner honouring her son, MCpl. Kirk Noel.
Kirk, a search-and-rescue technician from St. Anthony, served in the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1997 to 2006.
He was killed in a helicopter crash while on a training exercise in Nova Scotia in 2006. He was 33 years old.
For Wavey, the banner is another way to ensure he is not forgotten.
“It brings to life, for me, the fact that Kirk is not forgotten,” she told SaltWire Network. “He lives on.”
Wavey said she is impressed with the banners, and the initiative is a wonderful idea.
As she lives along the route where the banners will be displayed, she’ll be able to see Kirk’s banner from her window every day.
“I’m happy with that,” she said.
Paul Dunphy has a banner of his father, PO Thomas Dunphy, who served in the British Royal Navy from 1940-46.
Thomas was a motor man, which Paul compares to a marine mechanic, who served on board different vessels along the coasts of Belgium, Italy and France during the Second World War.
Paul says he only knew his father vaguely — he died 1966 — and he never spoke of the war, but Paul was always proud he served for his country against the rising tide of fascism.
“They fought for us so we can do the things we do today,” he told SaltWire Network.
To Paul, it’s imperative to keep that memory alive, to avoid repeating the same mistakes, and the banner initiative helps with that.
Godfrey Mitchelmore is a member of the committee who organized the banner program.
He, too, has a connection to the war, as his parents, Richard and Doreen, both served during the Second World War.
They met in Edinburgh, Scotland, while Newfoundland-born Richard was serving with the Royal Navy and Cornwall-born Doreen was serving in the Royal Air Force.
They moved to Newfoundland after the war, where they raised their family.
Godfrey says he has received more orders for banners and expects more than 30 to be ready for display by next summer.
The banners are all paid for by family members, who submit applications to the committee.
The plan is to hang them for each of the next three years, at which point the person paying for a banner can pay to have it hung for another three years or take it themselves.
The banners are designed by One Promo, an Ontario company.
Stephen Roberts is a west coast reporter based in Corner Brook