On Canada Day, Dino Vieira and his wife Nancy celebrated their love of Canada by erecting a 4½-metre hand-crafted cedar flag pole and Canadian flag in front of their home in the 5200-block of Sooke Road.
For the Vieiras, putting up the flag was a symbol of their love of country and an expression of the hope and faith in Canada that they feel every day of the year.
“I left the flag up a little longer this year because I thought the world needs to have faith and remember what a great country we have,” Dino said.
But on Aug. 1 hope and faith were shaken when the Vieiras discovered the flag and pole were stolen.
Dino is a Portuguese-Canadian who came to Canada in 1990. He became a Canadian citizen in 1995.
“That year I got to go up on the stage at the Canada Day celebration and was recognized as a new Canadian,” Dino said. “It was a very proud moment for me.”
Nancy Vieira recounted how the flag held special significance to the family as it was a large 4×8-foot government-issue flag gifted to them by their navy veteran foster son.
“Chad knew how much the flag meant to Dino so he gave it to him two years ago, and Dino went out and crafted the pole from a red cedar he salvaged from a logging debris pile up-Island,” Nancy said.
“We’ve been flying the flag every Canada Day since that time.”
The family is philosophic about the loss of the flag, saying they hope whoever took it realizes they now have the responsibility for honouring and caring for it in a manner that represents the love of country they had when erecting the flag in front of their home.
“This is more than a flag; it’s a piece of our heart, our love of country that we displayed proudly,” Nancy said.
“In the end, they couldn’t take that from us, and we’ll get another flag and we’ll fly it next year. They took a flag, but not our love of country.”
Dino added next year, he may have to climb a little higher into the trees on his property to secure the flag out of reach of would-be thieves.
“I don’t believe there was any malice in the theft, just someone taking it away in a thoughtless way. Hopefully, it’s being honoured and cared for, and maybe it’ll be returned at some point. Coming from our son, it meant a lot to us,” Nancy said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 250-642-5241 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.