On that Friday evening, my wife Valerie and I drove over to the Almonte Legion and were met by acting President Joe LeBlane. A short time later a young lady came in and told us that she was part of the delegation. She informed us that she now worked and lived in Ottawa but that she had spent a year in Kandahar as a civilian worker. She informed us that she, her co-workers, and some of the soldiers had signed the flag over there using a black marker on the white portion of the flag in support. Shortly after speaking to her the rest of the delegation arrived. Two soldiers came from Trenton with the Flag, one soldier flew from BC in order to be part of the presentation. Also in attendance was Corporal James Lawrence, a young soldier who lived in Mississippi Mills and had actually brought one of the flags that was created in the Giant Tiger store in Carleton Place over to Kandahar. All of these people including Mayor John Levi were included in the presentation. The hall was full of well wishers, some had signed the flags originally and some were members of the Legion. The soldier that had brought the flag back told the story about the flags journey.
He stated that they had lunch every day looking at the Flag and that it was where they worked in the mechanics building. While they were packing up at the end of the mission, they decided to try to return the flag to the place of its origin. He stated that the flag was removed from its frame, which leads me to believe that it was the flag that I had presented to the Former Defense Minister Gordon O'Connor, because I was told that he had the flag framed in a gold frame before presenting it in person to the troops in Kandahar. He stated that they were trying to investigate where it came from because it was identified, in the lower right-hand corner, In Support of Our Troops, Flag Day, February 15th, 2008, Levi Home Hardware, Mississippi Mills, Ontario however they never heard of Mississippi Mills. They finally connected with Mississippi Mills, and Almonte Ward, got a hold of the Legion, and matched up some names on the flag like Calvin Murphy, the Parks, the Recreation Director, and my name stood out bold in the stem of the maple leaf. At that time they all signed the flag using a black marker on the white portion of the flag before they brought it back. The soldier that presented the flag to me had the flag all wrapped up in a beautiful Afghan which he later presented to me. He presented the flag to me and I turned around and presented it to acting President Joe LeBlanc. The words to my presentation are below.
Before we left, my wife and I talked to the soldier that had come from BC. who served over there for over three years, who was now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. I was talking to him about the Afghan Monument and he said that he worked on dismantling it before it was crated up and brought to Ottawa. He liked what I shared with him and said that he would send me a piece of the monument. If he does, I will donate it to the town of Carleton Place to be included when we rebuild the International Cairn. If I could share the whole story, what are the chances?