Thursday 22 November 2012

Canadians in Afghanistan - Repatriation Memorial

After my conference I was asked to go and see the memorial before we went home.
It is very beautiful. There were heart-wrenching tributes to loved ones.
How fitting that it is on the base, near the beginning of the highway of heroes.

This is what my hubby wrote about it, as he visited when I was at the conference:

About 4 km from our hotel near Trenton, just past CFB Trenton, is the new Memorial to our Afghanistan Veterans. It is located in a small park bordering on the Bay of Quinte. The park is a recreational park and the Memorial is just behind a ball field. 

 I know that there was some debate as to where the memorial should be located but I think they got it right. 

 The memorial consist of two Maple Leaf shaped stones, one with a relief of a group of civilians and the one other with 158 names of Canadians who died in Afghanistan. No doubt we can be divided on the validity of the mission, as we can on all wars, but the sacrifice of the individuals should not be diminished by this. I have seen many such memorials all over the world but, to me, the new idea of listing the the individual names brings home the true cost of war more than the heroic monuments at many sites. 

 As I approached the site, a man and woman were solemnly leaving it. Visiting at the same time as me were two female infantry members in field uniform (probably on lunch break from the base). They were reading and pointing to names that they knew. There is no abstraction here. 
No reflection on another time or place. 
The hurt was real and there in the moment. 

 After my visit , I walked a short distance to the shore , and sat and watched a pair of swans on the water, while over head, a very large cargo plane turned over the water after take off from the base. Maybe the memorial is not where a lot of people will see it, but it is in a damn good spot to reflect on it.



Linda said...

It is a lovely memorial, and unfortunately some mean spirited individual decided to pull the plants from around it. It was caught on video, but not sure if the person was ever caught.

Jenn Jilks said...

This is a common problem, people stealing expensive plants. I cannot imagine anyone stealing plants from such a poignant memorial.

Red said...

This is a very impressive memorial. Thanks for telling us about it.