"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:
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.
As the 10th year Annivarsay approached of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 I felt compelled as a Canadian to commerorate, show support for our American neighbors and to pay my respects to the victims of the worst teriorist attack on North American soil. I also felt everyday Canadians and first repsonders were looking for a way to pay respects. As the anniversary became closer, I decided to contact fire stations and first responders across the country who might be willing to have a flag signing event in their communities on Canada Day 2010. I was honored that 6 cities decided to particpate. Upon completion of the flags in the local communities, I had the signed flags sent to me 1 month before the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
My son Ben and I traveled to New York City with the signed flags, and arrived the day before the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. Unpon arriving, we made arrangements to be dropped off close to ground zero. I was fortunate to meet near ground zero the head of the New York Parametics, who offered take Ben and myself to the closest fire hall to gound zero. I then presented my first flag to him while CBC National news was interviewing. I then presented the second flag to Ladder 10 Fire Hall accross the street from ground zero. Canadian CBC National News, Canadian Press and other Networks interviewd me after I presented the signed flag as a Canadian Tribute. My next stop was the Ladder 8 which was the firehall in the famous Ghost Buster movie. I presented Ladder 8 with the 3rd Flag. I then continued to other New York Fire Halls presenting signed flags from Canadians and First Reponders. All the New York Firemen, Paramedics, and other first reponders were deeply moved by our Canadian comemoration to the tragic events on that sunny day 10 years earlier.