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Hundreds of flags line Red Deer highway to honour front-line workers during COVID-19

A one-kilometre stretch of highway west of Red Deer, Alta., has been turned into a colourful tribute and show of thanks for front-line workers around the world.

Flags from many different countries as well as Canadian provinces and territories — 195 flags in all — line part of Highway 11 between Red Deer and Sylvan Lake.

“They represent giving honour and a tribute to our front-line health-care personnel and first responders, the people out there every day giving all they can, doing all they can,” said Al Cameron with Veterans Voices of Canada, the organization behind the project.

Flags from all over the world are included in the display. They stretch for around 1 kilometre. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

Cameron is normally busy honouring veterans, recording and sharing their stories and history across Canada.

“This is a way to honour and give tribute to another group of warriors,” said Cameron.

“These are pretty amazing people and some have given their lives for this cause,” he said.

Al Cameron with Veterans Voices of Canada is behind the colourful tribute. Members of the public can sponsor a flag for someone they want to honour. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

“We’ve got a lot of people behind this, they love it and it puts a smile on their face. It’s out there to say ‘we’re strong, we’re going to beat this and we’re in this together,'” he said.

Cameron is also hoping to turn his Flags of Unity project into a fundraiser to raise money for the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation.

Cameron has had a recent health crisis of his own, being treated for cancer for seven months including radiation treatment for the last four months. His partner is a registered nurse at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

Canada’s flag is one of 195 flying along Highway 11. Provinces and territories are also represented in the tribute. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

“It really puts the boots to your immune system. And her working at the hospital every day, she didn’t want to come home to me because she wasn’t sure what she was exposed to,” said Cameron.

“There’s a lot of families out there that this is affecting,” he said.

Some people are sponsoring individual flags, which gets them a small maple leaf-shaped plaque put on one of the flag poles with the name of the person they want to honour.

The flags will be in place until July 6.

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