Members of the public were given a sneak peek of a new memorial created to honour Canadian soldiers who fought in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014.
The 20,000-pound, six-foot-high granite memorial includes the names of 163 men and women who served in Afghanistan, including Michelle Lang, a journalist who was killed in the war, as well as Andrew Nuttall and Myles Mansell, who were from Victoria.
Rather than a traditional memorial that often depicts an image of a solider with a weapon, the memorial is based on an image taken by Reuters photo journalist Finbarr O’Reilly, and depicts the silhouette of a Canadian solider who was walking through the Panjwai district and stopped to shake the hand of an Afghan child.
For monument organizers, not only was it important to honour those who fought and died, but also their families and those who returned to Canada injured — physically or emotionally.
“There were 40,000 Canadians (who served in the war in Afghanistan). Two-thousand returned. We had 158 killed or died in hospital of their wounds and there have been those who have suffered physical and mental wounds after they came home,” said Larry Gollner, retired Brigadier-General, noting the granite came from a quarry outside Quebec.
“The monument is striking and reflects 21st century thinking, as opposed to 19th or even 20th century thinking.”
The memorial, which is a project of the Greater Victoria Afghanistan Memorial project, will live outside the Bay Street Armoury until the end of the September when it will be erected at its permanent home at the corner of Quadra and Courtney streets, across from Christ Church Cathedral.