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This piece in today's Kingston Whig-Standard raises a good question:
Even if it is a decision "made at the level of the (CDS)", any ideas for a home for this? Or even the other monuments up in/around Afghanistan?As the Canadian Forces abandon the desert base that was their staging area into Afghan -istan, they are bringing back one of the most important items there.
The centrepiece of Camp Mirage was a subdued but elegant cairn in the centre of the camp, outside the mess. On it were plaques commemorating each of the 152 Canadian soldiers who have died in the war, including three who grew up in this area.
The granite monument at Al Minhad Air Base, surrounded by carefully tended green grass that was an anomaly in the desert, is on its way home.
"It will be reinstalled in Canada, but we haven't selected a location for that yet," Capt. Jennifer Kellerman of the Canadian Expeditionary Force command confirmed Friday.
In 2009, when the Whig-Standard visited Afghanistan, military members were already discussing what should be done with the Mirage cairn and a similar memorial that had been erected on the grounds of the Canadian headquarters at Kandahar airfield.
Military personnel wanted to see the monument permanently reinstalled in a place of honour in Canada, such as the War Museum in Ottawa.
The spotless monuments are cleaned of desert dust twice a day and are visited by all families of casualties who are flown into theatre to see where their sons and daughters gave their lives.
Many of the plaques have tucked into their frames photos, letters or poignant little mementoes such as poppies left by loved ones.
A plaque erected in front of the cairn states that the monument is a memorial to those who died in support of the Afghan -istan mission and that "This cairn belongs to all Canadians and visitors who wish to pay their respects."
It also informs them that it is permissible to walk on the grass surrounding the memorial.
The cairn is large enough that it can be seen in satellite photos of the base on Google Maps.
Kellerman said the military understands the importance of the monument, not just to soldiers but as a permanent memorial to the campaign in Afghan - istan. She vowed that it won't just be put into storage somewhere.
"The decision on where it will go here in Canada will probably be made at the level of the chief of defence staff," she said ....