Veterans Affairs offers money to update Halifax cenotaph
Mayor Mike Savage supports including Afghanistan war on Grand Parade monument
Veterans Affairs Canada says money is available for Halifax to update the cenotaph in Grand Parade to honour the men and women who served in the Afghanistan war, responding to questions about why the monument hasn't been amended since the Korean war.
Halifax's war memorial was built in 1929 to honour those who fought in the First World War. It has been updated over the years, the Second World War and the Korean conflict are now also etched in the granite, but Canada's most recent conflict isn't marked. The soldiers who died are not listed in the city's remembrance book.
That could soon change.
"People who die in the line of duty, they do it whether it's an official war, whether it's not considered to be a war," said Mayor Mike Savage.
He said he supports updating the cenotaph in Grand Parade, home of the city's largest Remembrance Day ceremony, to reflect the sacrifice of hundreds of Nova Scotian soldiers who served in Afghanistan and the 16 who died there.
Savage said he can't order a change without the city's backing, but fully supports adding Canada's longest armed struggle to the province's largest memorial.
"I certainly don't have a problem with putting the names of people who passed away in Afghanistan," he said.
Money available for groups
Veteran Affairs spokeswoman Janice Summerby said the department's Cenotaph and Monument Restoration Program covers 50 per cent of eligible expenses, not exceeding a maximum of $25,000, for groups wanting to restore their local cenotaph.
The federal government said it will soon change the national war memorial to honour Afghanistan, but exactly how isn't clear.
Peter Stoffer, the New Democrat MP for Sackville-Eastern Shore and the federal critic for Veterans Affairs, said he wants to add the phrase "In the service of Canada" to all cenotaphs.
It's not only Afghanistan veterans who are omitted. Stoffer noted the Boer War and military actions including Bosnia, Syria in 1974, Rwanda and the East Timor are not commemorated in stone.
He said a broader wording on the cenotaphs would ensure everyone is included.