On Saturday August 17 the Canadian Armed Forces paid tribute to Canada’s Fallen in Afghanistan during a rededication ceremony of the Kandahar Cenotaph in the Afghanistan Memorial Hall at National Defence Headquarters (Carling) Ottawa.
The ceremony provided an opportunity for family and friends of Canada’s Fallen to commemorate the legacy and sacrifices of those they lost.
“The Afghanistan Memorial Hall stands as a tribute to those who gave their lives in service to their country during our mission in Afghanistan. Today, we honour and remember those fallen in Afghanistan and their family and friends. We will always remember their strength, courage and sacrifice. They will never be forgotten,” stated Harjit S. Sajjan, minister of national defence.
It was also an occasion to honour the sacrifice made by Canadian civilians who contributed to the Afghanistan mission and American military members who served under Canadian command.
“Today we gather to re-dedicate our Kandahar Cenotaph here at home on Canadian soil. Each stone bears the face and badge of one of our fallen, and together, they serve as a memorial to the sacrifice of Canada at war in Afghanistan. The solace this Cenotaph offered us in combat will remind every Canadian who visits it, military and civilian alike, of war’s true cost and our duty to remember the courage of those who gave all,” stated General Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff in a press release.
During Canada’s military engagement in Afghanistan 158 Canadian Armed Forces personnel, a Canadian diplomat, a DND contractor, a Canadian journalist who was embedded with the CAF were killed along with 42 United States armed forces members and one civilian who were under Canadian command in Afghanistan.
“Today’s rededication ceremony is another important milestone in honouring our country’s legacy in Afghanistan. Together, we paid respects to their bravery, their strength and the ultimate sacrifice made by all military and civilians who served, and we thank the families who supported them. In its location at the Afghanistan Memorial Hall, we will continue to protect the legacy of the Fallen and remember their contributions to the Afghanistan mission,” said Commander Canadian Army Lieutenant–General Jean-Marc Lanthier in a press release.
The Kandahar Cenotaph was created by members of the Canadian Armed Forces as a battlefield memorial to honour military and civilian personnel who died during Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. It was transported to Canada in 2011 and is now housed in the recently constructed Afghanistan Memorial Hall at National Defence Headquarters (Carling), located at 60 Moodie Drive, Nepean, Ontario.
Senior military and departmental leadership, wounded soldiers and Veterans from units, headquarters, and formations in which the fallen soldiers served, and Canadian journalists who reported during the war also attended the ceremony.
A number of VIPs were present to pay tribute, including Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada; the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence; Ms. Jody Thomas, Deputy Minister of National Defence; General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff; and Mrs. Anita Cenerini, the 2018 National Silver Cross mother.
Visits to the Kandahar Cenotaph by families of Canada’s Fallen in Afghanistan began on May 26, 2019 and continue under special arrangements for the families. Further details are available at the Afghanistan Memorial Hall website here.
Any member of the public, Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans may visit the Kandahar Cenotaph after August 18, 2019 by arranging a visit through the website.