The fruits of five years of labour by a group that wanted recognition for Canada’s veterans and active service men and women who served in the lengthy Afghanistan tour were on display Saturday in Victoria.
Gov. Judith Guichon and other officials, as well as close to 1,000 onlookers, attended the unveiling of a monument honouring those who served and died as part of Canada’s role working with local forces to create stability and security in the war-torn country from 2001 to 2014.
The creation and placing of the monument was organized by the Greater Victoria Afghanistan Memorial Project Society. The ceremony itself had the feel of a Remembrance Day service, with poppies lining the granite monument after the official part of the day.
Retired military chaplain Maj. Jimmy Short, an Afghanistan veteran himself, spoke of what the monument and its place in the city represents, during a prayer with those gathered.
“May this sacred stone, this hallowed ground, be a place of remembrance, of inspiration, of comfort, of reflection and a reminder of the long-term commitment to those who have served the cause of peace in the world on behalf of Canada,” he said.
The image of Lt. Michael McCauley, a Canadian soldier who served in Afghanistan and whose image reaching out to an Afghan child graces the stone, read the act of remembrance as those assembled stood solemnly.
Along with honouring the members of the armed forces and public service who represented Canada in Afghanistan during our country’s military commitment, the monument lists the names of Canadians who died during the 13-year time frame.