Operation Nanaimo-gram started simply enough. It was just an idea of three members of the Vancouver Island Military Museum, who wanted to show Canadian troops in Afghanistan some support.
With a little initiative, the idea of Operation Nanaimo-gram quickly took on a life of its own with 7,000 Nanaimo residents signing books of greeting, while local dignitaries and service clubs signed the official city flag.
Then the idea really took off — literally. The books and flag were flown to Afghanistan and circulated throughout forward operating bases to our troops, who in turn signed a flag to be returned to Nanaimo.
In Afghanistan, the books and flag were not idle. They travelled with bomb disposal units, through combat zones and even went on a mission aboard a Chinook helicopter. Symbolically, the thoughts and prayers of all Nanaimo citizens were on those missions, and the gratefulness of those troops who carried and protected them was obvious.
Some said it made them smile, others said they were proud to carry our flag on missions, while others just appreciated the support.
While we carry on with our lives here in Canada, it is always important to remember that thousands of Canadian troops (150 from Nanaimo) have put themselves in harm’s way for us. We can never thank them enough.
When the Flag of 100 Heroes was presented to city council, the pride reflected in the faces of those who made it happen was obvious, and rightfully so.
Operation Nanaimo-gram was a wonderful success and it forever links our troops with our city. Take time to visit the flag and read the messages from the troops who took the time to read and respond to ours.
—Nanaimo News Bulletin