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Legion officially marks year-two of banner project in Yorkton

Adding 58 new veteran banners in 2021
YORKTON - The Honour Our Veterans Banner Program is back for its second year. 

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #77 officially launched year-two of the project Saturday with a ceremony at City Centre Park in the city. 

Last year, in the six weeks prior to Remembrance Day, 103 veterans were honoured on forty-one double-sided banners that were displayed on two of Yorkton’s downtown streets and around the cenotaph.   

This year the local Legion branch is adding another 59 veterans on 29 new banners.  

It was about three years ago Tamara Hall was visiting Vancouver and saw veteran banners on lamp posts, “and an idea was born,” explained Perry Ostopowich, Master of Ceremonies Saturday. 

With a grant from the City of Yorkton, the banner project was launched with great community support, he added. 

“Without support this project would not have gotten off the ground,” offered Ostopowich. 

Ostopowich noted those honoured on the banners “showed the strength and courage and stood up for a noble cause . . . “Again veterans and their families, we thank you.” 

Ostopowich, a history teacher, also said the banners help young people become interested in their history.  

“It’s a little seed in their minds,” he said. 

Local Legion president Ken Gordon said the project would not have happened without a dedicated committee doing the work. 

“It takes a great committee, and I can’t thank you enough,” he said. “It’s such an honour to work on a project like this.” 

Yorkton Mayor Mitch Hippsley said the project has proven to be a great one. 

“Last year was a tremendous success,” he said. 

And, Hippsley said it is because the project honours people deserving of being remembered. 

“It’s because of all the veterans we stand here today,” he said, “. . . I don’t think we can ever stop thanking veterans for all they’ve done for us.” 

Yorkton-Melville MP Cathay Wagantall said the banners bring focus to the veterans. 

“It makes them real in our hearts and minds,” she said. 

MLA Greg Ottenbreit said remembering what has happened before is important. 

“I’ve often said we have to remember history,” he said, adding in the case of veterans it is important to remember “. . . they sacrificed so much for us.” 

Gordon summed up the afternoon simply by finishing his remarks with “we will remember them – Lest we forget.” 

The Honour Our Veterans banner project gives Yorkton citizens and visitors the opportunity to honour, respect and celebrate veterans from all walks of life and all times of service to the country.   

The Legion and city welcome banners for all veterans who have a link to our community and Treaty 4 area. That may mean they lived here, worked here, or have friends or relatives here who want to recognize them.   

The program is for any veterans, past or current, from any war, conflict or mission including military, medical, firefighters or RCMP.   

Installation of the 2020 banners that began Sept. 27, and with the help of Logan Stevens Construction and guidance from the City of Yorkton, is complete. 

Installation of the new banners will now take place. 

Yorkton is not the only community with banners. Watson, Kelvington and Canora in the local region are doing similar projects.