The Portraits of Honour mural featuring the faces of 156 Canadian soldiers, sailor and aircrew who have died in Afghanistan will make four stops in Central Alberta as part of a Canadian tour this fall.
Ontario artist Dave Sopha has painted a mural stretching three metres by 12 metres wide. He feels an overwhelming obligation to each soldier, sailor and aircrew, and to each of their families to make each portrait perfect. Sopha will continue to paint until the mission is completed and Canadian troops return home.
Red Deer Mayor Morris Flewwelling will join Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood on Thursday at 11 a.m. to recognize Canada’s military during a public ceremony at Veteran’s Park this Thursday at 11 a.m.
The pair will jointly proclaim Sept. 11-17 as Portraits of Honour Week. Government officials, the Kinsmen, Kinettes, Rotary Club members, RCMP and the military will be on hand for the first event of its kind to be held at Veteran’s Park at 49th Avenue and Ross Street.
“The Portraits of Honour display at Red Deer College will provide a wonderful opportunity for Central Albertans to pay their respects,” said Wood.
Flewwelling said that Sept. 16 and 17 will be a special weekend of celebration to honour the men and women of the Armed Forces who put their lives on the line every day.
The public can see the Portraits of Honour display for free during the two-day period. An official opening with parade will take place at 11 a.m. on Sept. 16. The mural display, along with other special events and displays, will take place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sept. 16.
A military parade will take place at 10 a.m. on Sept. 17.
The mural display will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and includes special displays and events.
Central Albertans can help the Kinsmen and Rotary Clubs of Central Alberta to raise $100,000 in support of the Portraits of Honour Fund. As part of the celebration, College Boulevard at Red Deer College will be turned into Boulevard of Heroes leading to the Portraits of Honour display.
With a $750 sponsorship, a Canadian flag will be mounted in a stand and will line the Boulevard of Heroes.
Dollars will go towards scholarships for children of these heros that live in Central Alberta.
For more information, call Myles Peake at 403-352-6222 or Ray McBeth at 403-350-9494, both of the Red Deer Tour Stop Host committee.
The Portraits of Honour will also be in the following communities.
• Sept. 12 at West Stettler Park, with an unveiling ceremony at 12 p.m. Visitors can see it until 6 p.m. A barbecue runs from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Donations will be accepted.
• Sept. 15, the mural will be showcased at the Rocky Mountain House Arena Complex from 12-4 p.m. A barbecue will be served.
• Sept. 18 at the Lacombe Sport & Leisure Complex at 5429-53 St. Ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. followed by public viewing until 5 p.m. Barbecue by donation will run from 1 to 4 p.m. Barbecue proceeds will go to Portraits of Honour. People can start off at the Lacombe Memorial Centre and march in the police-escorted parade up to the arena.