'We will remember them': Conception Bay South unveils monument for fallen N.L. soldiers
11 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians were lost in Afghanistan
The Town of Conception Bay South unveiled a monument Sunday to honour fallen soldiers from Newfoundland and Labrador who were lost in Afghanistan.
A LAV III, or light armoured vehicle, was dedicated near the town's original Monument of Honour in Remembrance Square. The monument is one of 33 across the country, and the lone dedication in the province.
The vehicles were used extensively by Canadian troops in Afghanistan, considered by many to be a home away from home.
Of the 162 Canadians lost to battle in Afghanistan, 11 called Newfoundland and Labrador home.
'We will remember them'
Woodrow French served as a member of the dedication committee that brought the project to life. In addition, he's a former mayor of the town, as well as a veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
He's proud of the fact the LAV III has made its way to the province, and says the monument is just as much for the families of veterans as it is for soldiers themselves.
"We understand what the families are going through here today because they they serve along with us," said French.
"To get the recognition for that is really important, but certainly to show the families of the the people that were lost in the war that we're there for them, and we're supporting them.… As our motto says, 'We will remember them.'"
Relatives of fallen soldiers were at the ceremony, with some laying wreaths on the monument in honour of their loved ones.
Agnes Gillam-Bishop and Kay Kennedy were on hand to pay tribute to their sons.
Sgt. Craig Gillam lost his life in October 2006, at the age of 40. Pte. Kevin Kennedy was killed in action in April 2007, at the age of 20.
The women say they were only notified of the planned monument over the past few weeks when they received official invitations, but they are thankful that the town is honouring the fallen, noting how special it is for the province to receive a LAV III.
"It's amazing," said Gillam-Bishop. "I'm so happy we got one."
"It makes me proud to know that Kevin will never be forgotten," said Kennedy. "He'll be always remembered, the same as all the fallen soldiers. It gives me peace and comfort."
"He was an awesome guy. A sweetheart."