A monument dedicated to fallen Canadian soldiers in the Afghanistan War was unveiled at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum today.
It was an emotional day for four hamilton families as they remembered their loved ones who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
The war began in 2001 shortly after 9/11 and lasted 12 years until the last 40,000 Canadian soldiers were sent home in 2014.
One-hundred-and-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died in that time. Four of them were from Hamilton. Their names are part of the museum’s monument.
Corporal Justin Matthew Stark committed suicide less than a year after returning home to Hamilton. His family fought for his death to be recognized as service related. His family won the recognition for Stark and they say this monument is a great tribute to the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers.
The monument is a demilitarized light armoured vehicle that cost $40,000. The North Wall Riders Association spear-headed the project, but it took the involvement from the community to bring the initiative to life.
“For those families, when they see the community come together and do a project of this size to remember their sons and their daughters that served. That emotion is what it’s all about,” a NWRA member said.
The third soldier commemorated on the monument is Sergeant Shawn Allen Eades who was killed in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device, or IED.
The last soldier on the monument is Private Mark Anthony Graham. Graham’s parents said that while the monument is a great tribute to fallen soldiers, there will never be closure for this kind of loss.
In addition to the fallen soldiers, the memory of Corporal Nathan Cirillo is also honoured with a stone near the monument. Cirillo was killed while standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Cirillo did not serve in Afghanistan but organizers said that he can stand guard at this new monument and look over the other soldiers.