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Banners commemorating veterans returning to the southeast

Banners will be hanging in additional communities this year.
South East Military Museum Banner
A banner commemorating Private Edward J Mack was among the first to be put up in Estevan last year.

ESTEVAN - The annual banner campaign by the South East Military Museum, commemorating veterans of different times with a connection to families living in southeast Saskatchewan, is coming back starting this week.

This year Estevan will see some of last year’s banners come up again, as well as some new ones. The project is also spreading into other communities in the southeast, as families of the veterans step forward wanting to pay tribute to their loved ones that served Canada and other countries.

"Every year, we're going to get more banners and put more banners up, it's a reoccurring program. We're expanding it to other communities in the southeast as we're going along. We started out with seven communities last year throughout the southeast, we've added three more this year, and hopefully going to add some more," said museum founder Craig Bird.

He noted that as banners appear on the streets of different communities, more people express an interest in participating in the project, which also helps raise funds for the museum, preserving the military history of the region.

Banners with pictures, names and the wars or missions veterans were or are involved in go up in early September and stay up until after Remembrance Day. Then the city takes them down when putting up Christmas decorations.

"We are going to have a repeat from last year … just because they weren't up long enough last year. And [several] new ones will be going up as well," Bird said.

Families that sponsored the banners get possession of them or they can choose to donate them to the museum after Remembrance Day. If they want, they can have the banners up again next year for a small fee, supporting South East Military Museum.

Last year, 36 commemorative banners were installed in different communities. This year, Bird said, there will be about 50 on top of what was up last fall.

"Radville and Carnduff are the two big communities that we are putting banners up. Between them, we've got probably close to 40 [new banners]," Bird said.

Banners commemorate veterans that were involved in any kind of military service, and the project is not limited to locals.

"This year was kind of special because we had some people that served with the British military, and they came to Canada after the war. We have some families that want to celebrate their Australian heritage. So we have a couple of banners that [commemorate] people that served in the Australian military during the war. So it doesn't matter what country they came from, if they want to celebrate their family members that are veterans, that's certainly okay," Bird said.

Most of the South East Military Museum's banners are from World War One and World War Two, but they also have Korean, Afghanistan and peacekeeping veterans honoured, as well as some currently serving members of the military.

"Any time period, anybody that's serving, they don't have to be deceased … They don't have to be from the community that the family is living in. If they want to put up a banner for somebody that lives down east or is still overseas, that's perfectly fine as well. It's all about commemorating veterans, not just Canadian veterans either," Bird pointed out.

The museum accepts requests for banners year-round, and they also provide other services related to veterans' history.

"If people want more information about their family members that had served, we can request that information from libraries and archives to get service records and find out a little bit more history about their loved ones," Bird explained.

The banners that were up in Estevan during summer were commemorating the pilots and a crew member that died in the plane crash by Estevan in 1946. Craig noted that it was a special campaign, dedicated to the anniversary of the tragedy.

For more information about the museum, their banner project and contacts, go to or South East Military Museum’s Facebook page.

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