Carleton Place As the New Location of The Canadian Forces Afghan Cenotaph?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Carleton Place trying to convince the Conservative government to locate the cenotaph honouring Canada’s Afghan war dead in its community.
The town’s mayor Wendy LeBlanc made a pitch to Defence Minister Peter MacKay in 2012, highlighting her community as the ideal spot for such a memorial because of its proximity to Ottawa as well as its military heritage.
LeBlanc said she doesn’t know whether the initiative, suggested by councilor Gary Strike, will be successful. But she added: “If you don’t write the letter there’s not a chance of it happening. They’re not going to come to you.”
I believe she received a standard letter from MacKay saying that he will pass on the suggestion to those at the Defence Department in charge of the initiative.
LeBlanc also pointed out in her letter that Carleton Place is home to the Canada Veterans Hall of Valour, which among other things details the career of First World War flying ace Capt. A. Roy Brown. Brown, born in Carleton Place, is credited with shooting down Manfred von Richthofen, the “Red Baron.”
In addition, the community is home to a large number of retired and serving military personnel, she told the Citizen. “And we’re actually expecting a lot more to come here simply because of the move of DND headquarters to the Nortel campus,” she added.
The cenotaph had been at Kandahar air field but is now in storage in Ottawa as the Canadian Forces tries to find a proper site for it to be located.
The Canadian Forces and the DND don’t seem to want a lot of publicity about the initiative as they continually decline to discuss what is happening with the cenotaph and when – or if – it will find a new home. DND/the CF were supposed to identify a permanent site for the cenotaph by now….but nothing so far.
They better get moving, however. The plan is to unveil the memorial in 2014 following the conclusion of Canada’s Afghan mission. So they will have to pick the site, get the various approvals, rebuild the cenotaph and construct a shelter/building so it can be protected by the elements.