Yet another battle of world renown has the same casualty rate. And that was for just the first day when all losses, wounded, Killed In Action, MIA, etc apparently saw one in five yet again, but this time the 20% were from some 206,000 from both sides in battle. You will hopefully remember the names of the five beach heads...Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, during the Normandy landings. These were spread along some 50 miles of French coastline 74 yrs ago today, in what we now refer to as D Day.
It is believed that this memorial may well be the only one that shows an image of a child. How fitting. Along the very edge of the memorial is a small children's park. We can only hope that these innocent youth will ask their Mommies and Daddies to tell them the story that the memorial will be telling the adults. The story that we came to Afghanistan not only to fight... but to reach out and help wherever we could...and did.
The actual dedication, speeches, and unveiling have been preserved for future generations in a video at the Society's own web site. The video and details about the background work and unveiling can be seen at ... https://vicafghanistanmemorial.ca/ and I would highly recommend you not only watch it, but pass it on so that others can also benefit form this work and become better informed on Canada's role over those years so far away from home.
In order to do the actual unveiling, Lt Governor Guichon and one member from each of the Memorial Cross families, were invited to move closer to the monument. Then the Lt. Governor and the society's President, Brig, General Larry Gollner removed the actual ribbon. This followed with dignitaries, and then the public being invited to approach the marble marker and those wishing to do so, also placing their own poppies at its base. Here I also complied. (Note that the engravings on this side. are in French, while the other is in English.)
And we would be doing an incredible dis-service to each one of these men and women, if we did not also recognize their brothers and sisters who came home with the physical scars, and even deeper, those who's injuries are not in the form of a scar. Men and women who need our attention as we now are the ones to be called upon with our hands out-stretched to show them our kindness and desire to help them make it through another day, week, month and year.
And we'd best not forget the families and loved ones who will need our tender support each and every day that we are blessed to be in their company.
The theme of the Interpretation Panels is broken down into several parts in order to tell rolls played by The RCMP, the Navy, Army and Air Force. Have a close look at the web site given above for some of the stories of what these men and women did for Afghanistan, and the world. Efforts to continue the nurturing of the wonderful reputation our forefathers and our foremothers planted with the seeds of their efforts.
I again encourage you to have a good look at their site..and pay attention to it.
Rumblings are that there will be an announcement in the weeks to come with regards to keeping these stories alive. Can't wait to hear more, and will bring this to you when I get it.
John helped to design the signs and explains some of the background behind their creation. He and the society hope they will help tell the story for folks who walk by, see the gorgeous monument and step closer to better appreciate it.
The Society President, Brig. General Gollner is standing to the Lt Governor's right. He looks on with pride at what all those behind the scenes accomplished over the past five years plus, to ensure that we indeed will not forget Canada's role in Afghanistan.
Richard serves as a member of the very committee that worked so hard to honour his son, the 162 other heroes named above. They, and the entire Canadian contingent, those with boots on the ground in the air, at sea, and also back home.
Please note the Memorial Cross both parents are wearing. I believe I brought you a story in this space about the creation of that medal a few months back. If not I will bring it forth soon. Mrs. Nuttall points to her son's engraved name on the marker. At least a dozen of the names are of members with BC connections.
If you look at 4 lines above Mrs Nuttall's hand you will see the name of Nichola Goddard. Her story has appeared in this space and is as equally tragic as each of the 163. She was the first Canadian woman to die in battle while in service to Canada.
Captain Goddard died while leading a patrol in Afghanistan on May 17 2006.
On May 18 I was doing research at Canada's wonderful War Museum at Ottawa. l and my sisters and their husbands also were in Ottawa to bury our parents ashes at Canada's national cemetery... Beechwood, where Captain Goddard would also be laid to rest in the weeks to follow.
As I wondered about the building I ended up in what is known as the Memorial Hall, a very dark room with only one window up very high and near the ceiling.
This and many other parts of the complex are built architecturally to give impressions of buildings being destroyed in battle. But the Memorial Hall is different. It is designed with just that one window. At 11 o'clock on November 11th , the sun shines a beam of light right into that window... giving the only light in the room. And it comes to rest on the opposite wall just above the floor. And in that very spot is the last grave marker brought home from the war for an UNKNOWN SOLDIER and it is lit up for all to see.
I was in that room the day after Captain Goddard lost her life. Her image was in papers all across the country. Someone clipped it and put it on top of the grave marker. And it was there when I entered the room. Something I have never forgotten to this day.
In Morse code they spell out a message... in both French and English... Lest We Forget!
But back to Victoria and the Afghanistan Memorial.
Mr. and Mrs. Nuttall pointed out the inscribed name on the memorial of another of the five Canadian women killed in the war. Her name was Michelle Lang, a reporter from Calgary. The last story she wrote was about the tragic death of Lt Nuttall. A week later she would join him in death.
And you will remember my friend Major Carter in the last blog. One of his missions was called off as less troops were thought to be needed. But in THAT very mission Michelle Lang... the reporter, and four others were killed, and another five injured.
We'd best all learn to appreciate more what we have to day... and continue to find ways to paying for it.
Neil Armstrong once said that ... "this was a small step for man, and a giant leap for mankind." July 20th 2019 will mark the 60th year since he walked on the moon. (and in his pocket was a small piece of fabric. It was the Armstrong tartan.)
The Greater Victoria Afghanistan Memorial Project Society, have in their own way taken one of these steps.
Lest We Forget!
I will be taking more training this weekend to improve my computer skills and will not be back here till the following Sunday,