Dear Sir, Madame, or Miss
Should I have sent this to the wrong e-mail account, please forward it to the correct one.
I just filled out the subject survey. Well, left much blank actually because there were no good options in many cases...
I cannot express how sad I am about those five entries. I do not want to think about what the losing entries looked like.
These are, at best, nothingness. They are pathetic examples of modern abstract "art", completely devoid of meaning. The term "Artsy-fartsy" could have been coined for them, had it not already been in existence long ago. There is no reality, no human content. It is clear that nobody on any of the teams has any understanding of our experience, and likely never could.
Compared to earlier cenotaphs and war memorials, they would be better left unbuilt - or, if the artists' egos demand their construction, keep them free of any claimed link to Afghanistan.
I lost friends there. Three men that I know lost their sons there. One man that I know lost his father there. I went to funerals, in many cases for guys that I'd never met but to show support to their families. More men that I know came back broken, either physically or mentally. I attended ramp ceremonies in Kandahar for some - too many - of our departing dead and ramp ceremonies in Trenton for some of those returning. I cannot describe the deep, wrenching sadness that I felt and still feel whenever I am reminded of so many shattered lives.
These weak attempts capture none of that. I would not visit any of them. They do not honour our dead and wounded. They ignore them completely, and, in doing so, insult them.
I find the Stimson one to be the least offensive, but depictions of empty helmets and ballistic and tactical vests still cuts out the PEOPLE who wore them. It is, perhaps, salvageable, with work.
So far, the best memorial that I have seen was the one that grew naturally in Kandahar. A permanent version of that, built to withstand Canadian weather conditions would be ideal.
Most of my experience in two tours in Kandahar was extremely positive. We achieved much, and would have achieved more had we stayed. Some of that could also be portrayed, but it is not.
Please, please, please start again. Send any "artists" involved to spend some time with troops in the field, either on exercise or deployment. Better yet, engage Silvia Pecota Studio
. Silvia understands, and her works show it.
Canadian Armed Forces 1973-2016