The installation of the first permanent memorial in B.C. dedicated to all of the tens of thousands of Canadians who served in Afghanistan began in Victoria on Tuesday evening.
The 18,000 lb granite monument arrived in the city in April and will be unveiled at an official ceremony on Saturday afternoon.
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.
“It will be an even bigger relief at about 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon when its been suitably unveiled and dedicated.”
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 image on the memorial was inspired by a photo of Canadian Lt. Michael McCauley of CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick and an Afghan child taken by Reuters photographer Finbarr O?Reilly in Panjwaii in July 2007.
“Its great to see its here, its safe, it looks good, and I think the people of Victoria…and the people of British Columbia will have reason to be proud,” said Gollner.
Fundraising efforts helped pay for the monument while the province is taking care of the installation.
The public is invited to the official unveiling on Saturday, September 30th at Quadra and Courtney Streets, behind the Provincial Courthouse and across from Christ Church Cathedral.
Memorial Cross families, veterans and dignitaries including the Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon and the Premier John Horgan are expected to attend.
The ceremony begins at 1:15 p.m.