Preparations have been completed for a Tignish Legion Remembrance project that has been more than a year in the making.
Last October, Legion president Jackie Doucette pitched the idea of having large banners printed to thank area veterans, living and deceased, for their service and for freedom.
Legion membership enthusiastically endorsed the idea and the first donations toward the project were confirmed by Remembrance Day 2018.
The idea at the time was to have the banners, bearing portraits of living and deceased veterans of the area, suspended from utility poles throughout the community.
Floyd Gaudet, who co-ordinated the banner project with staff and legion member Stephanie Kinch, said the plan had to be modified when permission to suspend the banners from the utility poles was denied.
Gaudet said it was Doucette who came up with an alternate plan, to have the banners suspended from poles around the legion’s parking lot.
By that time, family members were already providing names of veterans and contributing toward the cost of the banners. They were advised of the change in plans.
“Every family said, ‘it’s a better approach than throughout the village,’” Gaudet said.
"Having them alphabetically on the poles at the legion, you simply just drive in and as you walk around you see them all,” he noted.
Plans are in place to mount the banners this Saturday, but Gaudet admits that’s contingent on the remaining banners arriving in time. They have 40 already and are waiting for 36 more.
“Light a candle,” he said, referring to his hope that they will arrive in time. Otherwise, installation would need to be delayed until next week.
They plan to have the banners up until a day or two after Remembrance Day and then have them stored until next year.
Kinch said the project entailed lots of email exchanges with family members, obtaining photos and details about the veterans’ service.
Some families brought their information and photos directly to the legion to be included in the project.
There was time arranged for families to view proofs of the banners and for revisions to be made.
The project has been so successful that there is room for four more banners going forward.
Supporters of the project were acknowledged during a recent ceremony at the legion.
Gaudet places the cost of the project at between $20,000 and $25,000, and almost all was covered through donations of cash and supplies, including all of the pressure-treated lumber, 1,200 feet of one-inch rope, gravel, mounting brackets and lots of free labour. Families of the veterans also contributed.
Four of the banners feature photos of the plaques at the Tignish and Palmer Road cenotaphs that list First and Second World War veterans killed in action.
The other 72 banners carry portraits of veterans from the area, including ones killed in action, ones who died later and a large number of veterans still living, including some still in active duty.
The banners bear the message, “Thank you for our freedom.”
“We wanted to open the door to honour as wide a scope of people as we could,” said Gaudet.
“It’s been pretty amazing, the way it unfolded,” legion president Doucette said of the project.
He added he is thankful for the overwhelming support the project received from area businesses and the general community.
He said the idea came from a similar project he saw in a small New Brunswick community a few years ago.
While the banners will be taken down after Remembrance Day, Gaudet said the brackets will be left up and could be used for hanging baskets or other displays throughout the year.