Joseph “Larry” Gollner stands with the 18,000-pound granite memorial at Bay Street Armoury when it arrived in Victoria from Quebec earlier this year. The monument will be installed at the corner of Courtney and Quadra streets and unveiled at a dedication ceremony this Saturday (Sept. 30) starting at 1:15 p.m. Photo courtesy John Azar

Victoria site of B.C.’s first Afghanistan memorial to Canadian soldiers

Public unveiling and dedication ceremony set for Saturday afternoon

A procession of local, provincial, national and international dignitaries, as well as current and former military members and their families, will gather at a Victoria park on Saturday (Sept. 30) for a ceremony honouring Canadians who served in Afghanistan.

The event will culminate in the unveiling of a six-by-four-foot, 18,000-pound granite monument inscribed with the names of the 158 Canadian Forces members, four public servants and one journalist who died in the Afghanistan war from 2001 to 2014.

The monument is the first in B.C. to commemorate those who served in the war, Canada’s longest military campaign. The memorial and ceremony are the result of a five-year project by the Greater Victoria Afghanistan Memorial Project Society, who hope the public will come out to honour those who served.

President of the society Joseph “Larry” Gollner, a retired soldier, hopes his efforts give something back to the servicemen and women and their families.

“It’s a good thing to do to recognize people that made [this] supreme sacrifice,” he said. “We had 2,000 wounded, some physically, others mentally, and they’re still recovering … some unfortunately will never recover.”

RELATED: Organizers offer sneak peek of memorial honouring Afghanistan vets

Society board member John Azar, who describes himself as an ardent amateur military historian, said the process has been hard work, but now that the memorial is here, he’s satisfied to have done something meaningful.

“It’s all about remembering and honouring and learning from the experiences of those who served,” he said. “When people go into conflict areas, it’s hard for the general public to understand what soldiers and civilians are there working for. It’s important for us to recognize that …”

RELATED: Deciding next step in Afghanistan comes with grim backdrop

The memorial is being unveiled at the corner of Quadra and Courtney Streets next to the play park erected on the former tent city site. The unveiling and dedication ceremony begins at 1:15 p.m. Military personnel and Memorial Cross families will attend as well as Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon, Premier John Horgan, Afghanistan Ambassador Shinkai Karokhail, M.P. for Pitt-Meadows Dan Ruimy and Victoria City Coun. Chris Coleman.

The 5th B.C. Field Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery band and the Christ Church Cathedral school choir will be performing. For more information and to read the itinerary visit vicafghanistanmemorial.ca.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

Afghanistanmemorial

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New Democratic leader John Horgan during Monday's campaign stop in Sidney. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
NDP John Horgan wins Langford-Juan de Fuca

BC Green candidate Gord Baird takes second place early in the polls

(BC Hydro outage map)
UPDATE: Power restored to more than 3,000 Sooke residents

Two polling stations impacted by outage

The mottled sky, the lights coming on at water’s edge and in Victoria West, and the reflections on the building windows make for a scenic sunset photo in Victoria’s Selkirk neighbourhood. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Sunset on the Selkirk in Victoria

Send your photos to editor@vicnews.com for a chance to see them in the paper

Christopher Mauro, right, assistant manager of the Sidney Save-On-Foods, and Nick Luney, youth initiatives director for the Victoria Pride Society, celebrate the success of a pandemic fundraiser for the local Pride Society. (Courtesy Save-On Foods)
Grocery managers across the Island pull together for Queer youth

With Victoria Pride Parade and Festival cancelled, Save-On-Foods staff found a way to raise funds

Shay Baker, 17, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 21 and is wanted on outstanding warrants. (Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for high-risk missing youth

Shay Baker, 17, is wanted on outstanding warrants

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Most Read