A community effort to honour the veterans of Cape Breton’s Eskasoni First Nation continues to grow.
Soldiers from Canada’s First Nations communities have a long and decorated history of serving their country.
Cape Breton’s Eskasoni First Nation remembers their many veterans in a special way.
Eskasoni’s Main Road is lined by 44 banners representing First Nations soldiers who fought in different wars.
“It’s a great feeling when you see it,” says organizer Rose Basque. “It’s also great to see for the young people, because it educates them that this is their family member that went to war.”
Rose Basque and Mary Gould started this tribute last fall, and it’s received rave reviews from the community.
Now in its second year, the display continues to grow. This year, flags have been added to help tell the story.
“We have the Canadian flag, the Mi’kmaq flag, United States flag, and the Prisoner of War flag, because we do have a Prisoner of War from the community in World War Two,” says Mary Gould.
They are proud of those sacrifices in Eskasoni First Nations where a community effort to honour their veterans continues to grow.
With many Remembrance Day ceremonies downsized or moved online this year, the roadside tribute holds extra significance this year.
“Usually when we have our ceremony, we like to have about 250 or more people. But this year, we’re just asking the immediate family or descendants of the veterans attend, instead of the whole community,” says Gould.
The Chief of Eskasoni says the project cost $12,000 and was sponsored by the band council, but he feels it is worth every penny.
“It’s just pride and honour,” says Eskasoni First Nation Chief Leroy Denny.
Many of the banners are placed close to the homes of living family members.
“My Godfather went to Vietnam and my grandfather went to World War Two. We see their pictures and its history,” says Denny.
Basque also has a deeply personal connection to campaign. Her husband served in Vietnam and died 22 years ago.
She says the banners are a way to keep his memory alive.
“My grandchildren weren’t even born when he was alive, so I always have to tell them that their grandfather went to war,” says Basque.
A way of showing remembrance in a community that will never forget.