All across Alberta, it's a proudly worn symbol of a genuine connection.
Alberta’s fallen war heroes are being remembered in a unique way again this year at ATB Financial.
At ATB Place in Edmonton and the ATB Campus in Calgary, giant monitors have been programmed with a Remembrance Day message that features a scrolling list of the names of those from the two cities who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom Canadians now enjoy.
“We worked from a spreadsheet of data and when you have data you can do anything with it,” said Chris George, ATB’s Senior Web Manager. “So, we wanted to try something different and memorable this year.”
“The result is, in a way, the credits roll for the story of Canada.”
ATB’s Remembrance Day project also includes posters in ATB branches across the province that display the names and ages and home towns of soldiers from those particular parts of Alberta who did not return home from battle. The list of the thousands of names was supplied by Veterans Affairs Canada.
In pixels or in print, media is used to summon the names of the absent.
The project revolves around the art work of ATB graphic designer Nick Oelke, who brought an artist’s sensitivity to the solemn task.
“I wanted to be very respectful with the poppy and I also wanted to give it a human touch, to give the feeling of these names that you see on the posters or the video screen coming back to life, even for a few seconds,” Oelke said.
Oelke said he was struck by one particular aspect of the names of the dead on the data lists that he worked with in this project.
"They were all so young,” he said.
The same impression hit ATB team member Louise Hudak, who happened to walk by the Calgary screen at the very moment the names of her two uncles scrolled by.
"These were my father's brothers and they were only 23 and 30 years old when they were killed fighting for Canada in World War II," Hudak said. "It was a remarkable experience to see their names posted and it gave me the opportunity to truly remember."
Hudak shared the story with ATB team members and, then, she brought the story home.
"I shared the story with my father," she said. "He is almost 93 years old. He also served during World War II and was captured at Dieppe and spent many years as a prisoner of war."
The Remembrance Day project also caught the attention of ATB customer Marilyn Alexander. Alexander was at the Lethbridge Paramount branch when she saw the name of her uncle, Jasper Mayton Filmer, on a Lest We Forget poster.
"Every year I look through the newspaper on Remembrance Day and I have never seen his name and here it is," she said. "He was a gunner in a plane that went down off the coast of Germany and his body was never found. He was carrying an engagement ring with him and he was going to propose to his girlfriend when he returned.”
Lest we forget.