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Kandahar Cenotaph re-dedication to include families of the fallen

The initial dedication ceremony last May was held in private, only including military officials and politicians.
Kandahar Cenotaph. Photo: Master Corporal Levarre McDonald, Canadian Forces Support Unit (Ottawa)

Canadian soldiers and civilians killed during the Afghanistan mission will be honoured this weekend during a re-dedication ceremony for the Kandahar Cenotaph. 

This comes after a private ceremony, held in May at the Department of National Defence (DND), garned plenty of backlash and outcry from the families of the fallen. 

The ceremony on May 13 only included military officials and politicians -- many families of the soldiers killed in Afganistan only discovered it had happened after the fact. 

The incident prompted an official apology from the Chief of Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance. 

"Sadly, in trying to do the right thing by getting the Hall opened quickly so people, especially families of the Fallen, could arrange to visit, we alienated and angered these same people," he wrote. "Importantly, we also utterly failed to communicate the intent to hold an inclusive event in the future, following the opening of the Hall, to properly dedicate the memorial."

"To each and to all, we offer our deepest apologies, and ask for forgiveness," Vance added. "We will be seeking input from the families of the Fallen on how best to conduct the dedication."

This time around, the families and friends of all 161 soldiers and civilians have been invited to the ceremony. The DND will be covering all travel costs associated with the trip to Ottawa and will be provided with a military escort.

On Saturday, guests will be able to view a video montage of Canada's mission in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014 which includes a visual history of the Kandahar Cenotaph. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. and include a video montage of the fallen, prayers, two minutes of silence, a fly-past by the Royal Canadian Air Force and a wreath laying ceremony. 

This event is only open to the friends and family of the fallen. 

There will be a public visitation on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall inside DND headquarters at 60 Moodie Drive. 


Jenn Pritchard

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