The installation of the first permanent memorial in B.C. dedicated to the tens of thousands of Canadians who served in Afghanistan was unveiled in Victoria Saturday afternoon.
The ceremony began with a parade of members of the navy, army, air force and RCMP.
The lieutenant governor of British Columbia Judith Guichon, Premier John Horgan and the Ambassador of Afghanistan to Canada, Shinkai Karokhail, were among the dignitaries.
The monument honours the thousands who served during cCanada’snearly 13-year-long mission in the country.
The names of 163 Canadians killed are engraved on the base.
“They fought for change in Afghanistan, it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t simple and it wasn’t without sacrifice,” Lt. Governor Guichon told crowds Saturday.
Among the attendees was one of the voices at this year’s Invictus games in Toronto: retired captain Trevor Greene who suffered a severe brain injury while on duty in Afghanistan.
“Its fabulous, it means the world. It’s recognition for our fallen outside of Ottawa,” said Capt. Greene.
Also in the crowd, the families of loved ones lost. The ambassador to Afghanistan thanking them and Canadians.
“The people of Afghanistan have not forgotten you,” said Karokhail, “we have not forgotten those who have gave everything they have so our children can go long, prosper and live in peace.”
The visual focus of the memorial is a picture taken of a solder shaking the hand of an afghan child. The man in that image, lieutenant Michael McCartney in attendance Saturday.
The soldier living New Brunswick only recently identified when he saw the monument and his silhouette on the news.
Members of the Greater Victoria Afghanistan Memorial Project Society gathered on the grounds of the Victoria’s Provincial Courthouse to watch 5 years of work move closer to completion.
“Its a great relief,” said GVAMP Society President Brig.-Gen. (Ret’d) Larry Gollner.
The memorial features the names of the 163 Canadians killed during the mission to Afghanistan including 158 soldiers, 4 public servants and one journalist.
It is also dedicated to all the estimated 40,000 Canadians who served in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014.
The 18,000 lb granite monument arrived in the city in April.