Carleton Place - When you're watching the commemoration of the 9/11 attacks on television this weekend, keep an eye out for several familiar Canadian flags in the crowd that were signed by the people of Lanark County. Carleton Place town Coun. Gary Strike will be bringing seven flags from across the country to the commemoration ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 11 in Manhattan.
"We're going to walk them in to the Ground Zero area like the (Royal Canadian) Legion would do, said Strike during an interview earlier this week. "I intend to get as close to the event as possible. (I will be) marching two flags on flag poles. After the ceremony, he intends to present two of the flags to the New York City fire department."Thave nothing pre-arranged," said Strike, "I'm just going to walk in and present it (the flags) to whoever is there...But it'll be quite an honour to do this. I hope it all works well."
Strike will be travelling to New York City tomorrow (Friday Sept. 9), and staying with
his son Ron Strike and co-organizer Robert McDonald at a hotel in New Jersey. There will be several flags that Strike will bring with him from across Canada. They include flags signed by police officers and fire department staff in locations like:
- Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
- Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Moncton, New Brunswick (which also toured around the province).
- Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec.
- Lanark County.
- Edmonton, Alberta (which also toured around the province).
The Lanark County flag has been signed by town councils in Carleton Place and Beckwith Township, by Mayor Wendy LeBlanc and Reeve Richard Kidd, as well as by all members of Lanark County Council, and members of the Ocean Wave Fire Department, Lanark County Ambulance Service, and the Carleton Place OPP detachment. "This flag has about 2,000 signatures on it, said Strike, looking down at the Lanark County flag."This flag is neater than most of them," he joked.
The City of Ottawa flag has been in circulation since July and has been signed not only by Mayor Jim Watson but also by every fire department and police detachment in the city. Strike received the flag from Edmonton on Tuesday. "They were impressed," Strike
said. "We are honoured to be part of it," wrote Brad Hoekstra of the Albert Firefighters Association, in an email to Strike.
While he was still awaiting the Gander flag to arrive before his departure, he had heard from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office about his intended donation.
The flags cost about $70 each, and Strike is encouraging Canadians to wear red on Sunday, Sept. 11 to show their solidarity with our southern neighbours. "We're trying to have people wear red on Sunday for the National Day of Remembrance," said Strike. "(We want to) show Canada's continued support of all our American friends that were affected that fateful day in history."
Last year, Strike donated a signed Canadian flag to the American Embassy in Ottawa, where it has since been framed and hung in a place of honour. That flag was signed by Lanark County police, fire, and ambulance workers. Defence Minister Peter McKay has taken three of Strike's signed flags with him when Canadian forces were serving in a combat role in Afghanistan.