An Afghanistan memorial flag has taken its place atop Altona's war memorial wall, located at the Millenium Exhibition Centre.
Perry Batchelor is a town councillor and one of three local veterans who make up a subcommittee that reviews artifacts for display before making a recommendation to Council for final approval. He says a local citizen donated the flag.

"That's kind of what prompted me to ensure that we're paying not only proper respects to the individuals that are listed on the flag itself, but also to the greater community. We had a close look at things and found it appropriate that the flag take its place on the top of the memorial wall."

At the centre of the flag is a Canadian Maple Leaf in camouflage, the pattern that was worn by Canadian Armed Forces members in Afghanistan. On either side of the Maple Leaf are rows of names of the fallen Canadian soldiers that were killed in action or in motor vehicle accidents, by IED's (roadside bombs) or any multitude of reasons while serving in that country. According to Batchelor, of the 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members that served in Afghanistan over the years, 158 were killed and about 2,000 came home injured.

"So, although it was a long way from Altona, it had significant effects on many, many families that live in in Canada," he said. 

Three of the names on the flag hold special significance to Batchelor. Three of the names on the flag hold special significance to Batchelor. 

Three of the names on the flag hold special significance to Batchelor. Two of them are Francisco (Frankie) Gomez and John Wayne Faught, both of whom Batchelor soldiered with during his time with the Canadian Armed Forces. The third name is Mike Seggie, a young man who was the same age as Batchelor's daughter. In fact, the two grew up together. 

"I just saw his dad at a regimental get-together, and I let him know we've got his son displayed above our memorial wall. Jim and his wife, Shirley, have been to many of our services down here and sadly, are the recipients of the Silver Cross."

The Silver Cross is issued as a memento of personal loss and sacrifice on the part of widows and mothers of Canadian sailors, aviators and soldiers who died for their country. 

A veteran himself, Batchelor says the addition of the flag is personal for him but should be something we all take time to reflect on.

"How truly great a country we live in, free of war. But those individuals that are displayed in the memorial wall, and now on top of the memorial wall, paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Freedom is not free."