Veterans Affairs seeks public input on monument for Afghanistan mission

The federal government is looking for advice from the public on what a monument to Canada's 13-year mission in Afghanistan should look like.

Online consultation running until Jan. 20 seeks guidance on shape and focus of memorial

The Kandahar Cenotaph, which commemorates Canadian soldiers who died in Afghanistan, is located within the Afghanistan Memorial Hall at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. Veterans Affairs is consulting with the public on plans for a separate monument to the Afghan mission. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

The federal government is looking for advice from the public on what a monument to Canada's 13-year mission in Afghanistan should look like.

An online consultation runs until Jan. 20, seeking direction on whether the monument should be small and intimate or a place for larger public ceremonies commemorating the military effort that officially ran from 2001 to 2014.

Another question is where the monument's focus should be: on members of the Canadian Armed Forces and others who fought al-Qaida and the Taliban and then tried to rebuild the central Asian country, or on the families and loved ones who supported them at home, or on the relationship between Canadians and Afghans.

The monument already has a site, near the Canadian War Museum just west of downtown Ottawa.

The area has been the subject of redevelopment efforts for decades and also holds monuments to Canadian firefighters and victims of the Holocaust.

The monument to the Afghanistan mission is scheduled to be inaugurated in 2023.

It's separate from a memorial to the Canadians who died in the Afghanistan mission — the Kandahar Cenotaph at National Defence Headquarters in west end Ottawa. That monument was the subject of controversy earlier this year when families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan expressed outrage at being left out of the dedication ceremony.

A public rededication ceremony was held in August after Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance issued an apology.

Contributions to the consultations on the new memorial can be made here.

With files from CBC News


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