BLOOMFIELD, P.E.I. - Suspended from lampposts along Main Street in Alberton and from the ceiling at Bloomfield Foodland, banners feature black and white photographs of Prince County soldiers who served for Canada during the First World War.
The banners, over 40 in all, are a project of the St. Anthony’s Legion cenotaph committee in observance of the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice to end hostilities on the war’s Western Front.
The project was co-ordinated by committee chairwoman Lynda Curtis and her husband, Alan.
“We had seen a similar project in a small town in Nova Scotia,” Alan said.
St. Anthony’s Legion maintains a Book of Remembrance, along with updates, and used that information to select First World War veterans from the Alberton and Bloomfield districts to feature on the banners.
In Alberton, banners are displayed back-to-back on the lampposts on Main Street and at the town hall. In Bloomfield, they are suspended in two rows along the main aisle of the grocery store.
Peter MacNeill, Bloomfield store owner, said the decision to participate in the project was an easy one.
“I said, ‘absolutely.’ It was just nice to be asked, honestly, to be in the community and to be able to have that up.”
The banners have been up in the store for over a week and MacNeill said they are generating a lot of discussion among his customers. Some have even asked for the banners once Remembrance Day has passed. However, he reminds them the banners belong to the Legion. Several of his customers, he said, have family connections to veterans featured on the banners.
“A lot of that, ‘it’s my great-grandfather, great-uncle,’ et cetera.”
Initially, one banner was printed as a prototype.
“We were happy with the result and we continued on with the project,” he said.
The committee, he said, received outstanding community support with businesses and individuals enthusiastically sponsored all of the banners on display.
Members of the Allied forces who paid the ultimate sacrifice are identified on the banners with the words, “killed in action.” For others, the dates and branch of service are indicated.
This is the first time the legion has carried out such a project but, based on the response, Alan anticipates it will be renewed, possibly moving to Second World War veterans next year.
The 19- by 34-inch banners will remain on display until after Remembrance Day and then will be placed in storage. Curtis is hoping they can be taken out of storage and displayed within the legion home leading up to subsequent Remembrance Days.
Curtis suggested it is particularly fitting to feature veterans from the First World War in leading up to Remembrance Day 2018 and the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice.