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Victoria families honour those killed in war in Afghanistan

Sliver cross families remembered loved ones, marked 10 years since Canada pulled out of Afghanistan

The names of 167 Canadians who were killed during the 13-year mission in Afghanistan could be heard by those who gathered in Victoria to commemorate them on March 12.

The event at the B.C. Afghanistan Memorial was packed full of people who came to remember the 10th anniversary of the end of Canada’s long mission, including several families who were granted the Sliver Memorial Cross in recognition of their lost relative.

“I think these events are extremely important for us to be able to remember our loved ones, those that we’ve lost,” Colleen Fitzpatrick said. She wore a silver cross to honour her son.

“As we heard here today, to hear their names so we know that they’re not forgotten, to honour all those who have served and those that have returned from the war and are changed.”

Fitzpatrick’s son, Darren Fitzpatrick, was 21 years old and about six weeks out from returning home when he was killed in 2010. Darren, who was on his first tour when he died, was with the Canadian Armed Forces’ Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry.

“Darren was the middle son of our three boys. He was very mischievous, he had a great sense of humour and was everybody’s loyal friend. He served overseas knowing what he was doing and knowing that he was fighting for his country.”

Not only is Fitzpatrick very proud of her son, but also of all the other people who have put their lives on the line for the country.

Federal Veterans Affairs Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor was also in attendance at the event as one of the speakers who recited the names of the 167 Canadians killed.

“It is a very emotional day today this being the 10th anniversary that Canada withdrew from Afghanistan is certainly a somber moment. So many people came out today to pay their respects to remember those who have fallen. It’s an important day, we must commemorate our modern-day soldiers and those that we have lost.”

Other senior representatives of the Canadian Forces from the army, air force, navy and a diplomat spoke including retired captain Trevor Greene who was injured in an axe attack. During the event, a CC-130 Hercules aircraft from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron Comox flew by in salute.

Event organizers told Black Press Media in a statement that more than 40,000 Canadians were deployed to Afghanistan between October 2001 and March 2014 making the Afghanistan military engagement the largest and longest mission since the Second World War. After returning home, more than 2,000 others were wounded or injured and one-in-10 veterans received treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

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The Minister of Veterans Affairs, Ginette Petitpas Taylor lays a wreath beside two members of the CAF. (Ella Matte/News Staff)

About the Author: Ella Matte

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