To honor their courage

Canada remembers the sacrifices of Calgary soldiers

During the week of Canada's Remembrance Day, volunteers erect 3,200 crosses, each representing a Southern Alberta soldier killed in action. (Photo by Susan Schalin, McCann Family Foundation)

Diane Dallaire was preparing a stack of simple, white plastic crosses, when she came to a halt.

One of the crosses was marked, "Dallaire, Kevin Y R," and the age 22.

"Oh look, it's my son," she said to the volunteers working with her. 

Kevin Dallaire, a private in the Canadian Army, had been killed in action on the outskirts of Kandahar, Afghanistan, on August 3, 2006.

Now, just a few weeks after Diane Dallaire came across her son's name, more than 3,200 crosses are displayed along Memorial Drive in Calgary, Alberta. The crosses honor the men and women killed in service to Canada over the past century, from the start of the Boer War in 1899 to the current conflict in Afghanistan. Inscribed on each is a soldier’s name, rank, regiment, age, and date of death.

The Canadian flag is raised at sunrise and lowered at sunset from November 1 through the 11th, which is Remembrance Day in Canada and other Commonwealth of Nations states. Remembrance Day, also known as Poppy Day, commemorates members of those nation's armed forces who died in the line of duty.

The Field of Crosses Memorial Project is in its eighth year. It reminds Calgary residents of the sacrifices made by Southern Albertans who fought and died for their country. For the past two years, Raytheon Canada Limited has hosted a site where volunteers can build, clean, name and alphabetically stack the crosses. The company employees more than 1,000 Canadians, including about 150 at its Calgary facility.

"When you stopped and looked at the number of crosses in the room , you quickly realize that there's a face, name and story behind each one of those was overwhelming," said Val MacDonald, a Raytheon Canada Limited employee who coordinated the company's participation. "The ones that really struck a chord with me were several that read 'boy' as the rank and 'age' 15 — that's a year younger than my son. It makes you appreciate and never forget the sacrifices they have made."

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Published On: 10/31/2016
Last Updated: 12/18/2017