It was a historic day at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown on Friday as thousands of people gathered to support 1,150 soldiers leaving for Afghanistan next week. The rally was the first of its kind in Canada.Despite Friday's snowstorm, everyone made sure they were on base early enough to be part of the human flag. "It's important to show support for your peers," said Capt. Lisa Compton, a nurse at CFB Gagetown. "It's important to show support for the families that are staying behind. Even though we're not going overseas, it's a big team and you have to show everybody that you're behind them." More than 3,000 people packed, squeezed and crammed together on a snow-covered soccer field across from the base gym to create the human flag, which measured 90 metres by 45 metres.The effort was part of Red Rally Friday, an event that attracted people from all over New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada.Because of the snow, the turnout was less than the 5,000 organizers had expected.It was also due to 1,000 school children who couldn't be bused to the location because of the decision earlier in the day to close schools.But that didn't dampen enthusiasm."It was great to see everybody come and show their support for the troops," Lisa Compton said. "The atmosphere was great. It was exciting. It was good to see that everybody had such good spirit and that, here in Oromocto and the surrounding area, we can be so patriotic."Within the next year, said Compton, either she or her husband will likely be making the trip to Afghanistan.Sgt. Danny Compton, with the artillery branch of the Forces, said he was impressed by the turnout.
- there are 3300 people in this picture
- dignitaries included General Hillier and CFB Gagetown C.O. Colonel Jestin
- these people braved a vicious snowstorm to be participate
- all schools had been closed that day due to the storm
- HAVOC was wreaked on local roads
- it was taken around 2 pm
- some supporters waited eagerly since 9:30 that morning
- the picture was actually taken while the crowd thought they were in a "practice run"
- the picture was taken while the masses were singing the National Anthem
- the "red" effect is from red briston board placards
- placards were donated by "Hilroy Canada" and local buisiness "Covey Basics"
- all dignitaries and high-ranking officials are in the back red stripe