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Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney Speaks at Unveiling Ceremony for New Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial in Trenton, Ontario

TRENTON, ON, Nov. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Rick Norlock, Member of Parliament for Northumberland-Quinte West, today attended the official unveiling of the new Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial in Trenton.

"Veterans' Week is a time when Canadians honour those who have sacrificed to defend Canada's values of freedom and democracy," said Minister Blaney. "I commend the City of Quinte West for its hard work and dedication, which has allowed for the creation of this beautiful memorial. This community now has a special place to honour the men and women who gave their lives in the service of their country while in Afghanistan."

"Canadians are grateful to those who served in Afghanistan and mourn the loss of those Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice," said MP Norlock. "The Government of Canada is committed to commemorating the sacrifices and achievements of the brave Canadians whose legacy is the peace and security we continue to enjoy as Canadians."

The new memorial is in a park-like setting, in a quiet and reflective low-walled area. It contains two large granite maple leafs and is inscribed with the names of those men and women in uniform who have died in Afghanistan.

The unveiling ceremony included a parade, speeches by special guests and local dignitaries, the unveiling of the new monument and reading of the inscribed names by family members of the fallen, a flypast, a wreath-laying ceremony and an informal reception.

This Veterans' Week, take time to remember by attending a Remembrance Day ceremony, visiting a local cenotaph or monument, sharing your thoughts of remembrance online, or wearing a poppy with pride. Learn more and find remembrance events and activities in your area at veterans.gc.ca.

Backgrounder for the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs

The Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial

The idea for the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial came about two years ago as a way for everyday Canadians to remember the sacrifices of our Canadian Armed Forces personnel in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial will be a beautiful, permanent memorial honoring our Canadian Armed Forces personnel—the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in the war in Afghanistan. The entire $1.2 million project is being funded solely by Canadians honouring Canadian soldiers through the Give to Honour Those Who Gave campaign, with no government assistance. To date, with the project in its final stages of construction, approximately $800,000 has been raised.

Set in a park-like setting on the beautiful Bay of Quinte and with 8 Wing/CFB Trenton—Canada's largest air force base nearby, the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial will be a fitting tribute not far from where Canadian repatriation ceremonies occur and at the beginning of our fallen soldiers' journey along the Highway of Heroes, from Trenton to Toronto.

The Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial's design was selected from many entries; each designed to honour our nation's recognition of the loss of sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers. Sadly, 158 Canadian service members have fallen to date in this conflict.

The site of the Memorial will be approached by a walkway from a dedicated parking area off Highway 2, on the east side of Trenton at RCAF Road alongside the base. The monument itself is in a quiet and reflective low-walled area containing two large granite maple leaves—one in red granite inscribed with the Canadian Armed Forces emblem and provincial shields. The other leaf is in black granite etched to depict a family's loss with a solitary soldier in black granite depicting a fallen comrade. This latter maple leaf contains the names of those who have died in the conflict.

The entire site is designed to be reflective and contemplative in character and harmonize with its surroundings.

Within the Memorial's circular form, two granite benches will provide seating for those who come to reflect and enjoy the peace and beauty of the memorial site and park.

In addition to the monuments, flags and walkways, the Memorial will be professionally landscaped with shrubbery, plants, flowers and trees. It will also be lighted and maintained year round.

(Taken in part from from www.afghanistanmemorial.ca)

SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada

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