It’s been a somber work-in-progress honouring war’s sacrifice its founder hopes will grow no more.

For the fifth year crosses, each denoting one of the 3,000 southern Albertans who lost their lives in Canada’s conflicts and peacekeeping, have been planted on the north side of Memorial Dr. between Centre St. and 3 St. N.W.

Since the Field of Crosses Memorial Project’s launch in 2009, the numbers of those markers have increased slightly, with casualties in Afghanistan but even more as the fallen in wars from the more distant past come to light, said Murray McCann.

“We’ve been researching and researching,” said McCann.

“We’re researching with the Jewish Historical Society to make sure no soldier from southern Alberta is left out.”

While some archival loopholes have been filled, information from relatives of unmentioned soldiers have also eliminated gaps, he said.

“We’re very close to being there now and hopefully we won’t be needing to add any new ones,” said McCann.

This year’s focus will be on the Korean War, where an armistice 60 years ago ended combat in what’s often dubbed the forgotten conflict.

“Everything is so easily forgotten,” said McCann.

The idea for the project came when McCann was travelling through the U.S. state of Georgia and came across veterans erecting a similar display on a rural roadside.

“It was just before the U.S. Memorial Day and it had such an impact on me — I had to pull over,” he said.

“I realized these were lives given and though about the advantages I’ve had in my life because of them.”

The project’s an emotionally moving and fitting honour said Michael Hornburg, father of Nathan Hornburg who was killed in Afghanistan in 2007.

“This is a way our family can pay tribute to him and the thousands of others that served the ultimate sacrifice,” said Hornburg.

Starting Nov. 1 and lasting until Nov. 11, sunset and sundown flag ceremonies will be conducted at the site and veterans will engage with students.

On Twitter: @SUNBillKaufmann

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