Students at Sunningdale School in Moose Jaw planted 159 miniature Canadian flags Thursday morning to honour Canadian veterans and civilians who were killed during the conflict in Afghanistan.

Several members of the Friends of the Forces Fellowship were  in attendance for the event, which saw Girl Guides from grades 2 & 3 and 7 & 8 plant flags along the school's main walkway.

"They do most of the work and we supervise," said Joyce Walter, Secretary Treasurer with the Friends of the Forces Fellowship. "We have drills and we give them as much assistance as we can."

Also joining Walter from the Friends of the Forces Fellowship were members Ken Hawkes, Phil Adkins, and Vice Chair Robb Nesbitt.

Walter explained that the 159 flags represent the 158 Canadian soldiers that were killed in Afghanistan plus one civilian who has ties to Moose Jaw. Walter noted that Michelle Lang was a reporter at the Times Herald for several years, before taking on a position with the Calgary Herald. From there she went to Afghanistan and was killed in her reporting duties.


The flag-planting tradition at Sunningdale has been going on for at least a decade.

"If the children don't get involved now, when they're adults they will have no concept of why it's important to remember," continued Walter.

Sunningdale Principal Dave Osberg the flag planting gives the students some perspective, putting that flag into the ground and how that represents one soldier that passed away in Afghanistan.

"I think that our students need to realize that for the freedoms that we have today, there are some men and women who fought and continue to serve for our freedoms. It's important that we learn and appreciate and respect their sacrifices that they make for us."

Osberg noted that there was a soldier from the area that passed away in Afghanistan which led to the tradition being started at Sunningdale.

The school also held a traditional Remembrance Day service Thursday morning featuring wreath layings and a rendition of The Last Post.

The Friends of the Forces Fellowship was formed in 2010 as a means to keep contact between the civilian and military communities. The group hosts the Highway to Heroes Car Show every summer in addition to the Fellowship Revue in the spring.

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