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Operation Raise a Flag: An annual commitment

Bill sitting on the steps of the cenotaph
Bill Dingwall and his wife Kathy pay tribute to Canada’s Veterans

For Bill Dingwall, supporting Operation Raise A Flag has become an annual Remembrance Day tradition. He describes it as a personal and touching way to pay tribute to the 300 Veterans being cared for at the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre and just the “Canadian thing to do”.

Bill’s respect and admiration for Canadian Veterans started close to home with his father, John Dingwall, serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. Although Bill has limited memories of his father, who passed away when he was just seven years old, one of his treasured memories was joining his father on one of his regular visits to the Sunnybrook Veterans Center.

While a young Bill played in Sunnybrook’s gardens, his father would visit his friends and the other Veterans who were being cared for at Sunnybrook.

Bill sitting on the steps of the cenotaph as a child.
Bill sitting on the steps of the cenotaph as a child.

“Although Dad didn’t say much, we all knew how important those visits to Sunnybrook were for him. Knowing his buddies were being cared for meant so much to him.”

This is part of the reason why Sunnybrook’s annual fundraiser, Operation Raise A Flag, has become such an important annual tradition for Bill and his wife Kathy.

Showing our respect and supporting the effort to care for our Veterans at Sunnybrook is the least we can do,”
says Bill.

In addition to making regular donations to Operation Raise A Flag, Bill and his wife, Kathy, have gone to great lengths to understand the toil and sacrifices made by the Canadian military.

The couple travelled to France in 2019 to tour the Normandy beaches ahead of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. They also had an emotional visit to the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France. Both of Kathy’s grandfathers served heroically during the First World War.

Bill and Kathy Dingwall.
Bill and Kathy Dingwall.

This October, Bill and Kathy are once again embarking on a historic tour. The tour focuses on The Italian Campaign 1943-1945. It traces the path of the Canadian and Allied forces, starting in Sicily and concluding in Venice. Canadian troops played a vital role in the campaign which led to the liberation of Italy during the Second World War.

As Bill reflects on his family’s military history and the important role Sunnybrook has played in caring for Veterans, he gets emotional thinking about the significance of November 11th and what it means to have the Veterans wake up to a sea of red and white Canadian flags.

They gave so much for all of us. It's just a wonderful tribute knowing their sacrifices are remembered.”

Canadians across the country can join Bill and Kathy in showing their support of Operation Raise A Flag and the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre virtually by sending a personal note of thanks to the Veterans residing at Sunnybrook. Flags are available online at with a donation or by calling the Sunnybrook Foundation at 1-866-696-2008.