Memorial to Canada’s War in Afghanistan unveiled

New Honour: Cpl. Mark Fuchko stands in front of LAV III monument at the Military Museums in Calgary. Fuchko was wounded in the Afghan conflict. (Photo by Andrew Bardsley/The Press)

While the memories of Canada’s war in Afghanistan remain fresh for many, a new monument to honour those who sacrificed their lives has been created, to ensure is never forgotten.

The monument was unveiled in September at The Military Museums, in southwest Calgary.

The marker is a repurposed LAV III, the primary fighting vehicle for the Canadian Armed Forces during their conflict in Afghanistan, from 2001 to 2014.

Part of what will soon be Canada’s National Afghan War museum, the LAV III is the first step towards establishing the national museum exhibit.

“The unveiling of this monument is important to all Canadians, it connects them to the conflict,” said Cpl. Mark Fuchko (RET), who was in attendance.

“While I never served on one, I saw them everywhere. Every battle group, every task force, had them.”

Fuchko, who was seriously injured in the conflict, believes that the monument offers Canadians a way to learn the history of a surprisingly recent conflict.

“To have it here in Calgary to memorialize the service of more than 40,000 Canadians, many of whom contributed a lot…is a meaningful way for people to connect to their history. It makes its all a little more real,” said Fuchko.

The exhibit is situated in the courtyard outside of the museum, on the east side of Crowchild Trail S.W. north of 50th Street. It will eventually be moved to the new Afghanistan museum, which is to be completed in 2023. 

“They [the government] have seen how professional we are, how we have acted in the past and also because two of the seven museums which are part of the military museums  Lord Strathcona’s and The PPCLI {Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, had direct service in Afghanistan,” said senior curator and director of collections Rory Cory.

Cory, who has been curator for more than a decade, is proud to see the museums be chosen for the future site.

“The reaction so far has been really amazing. Just the heroism and patriotism being recognized is really great,” he said.

The museum, which already has several vehicles from the conflict, is proud to have received what veterans refer to as “the symbol of Canada’s conflict in Afghanistan.”

“While the ones I saw were never this clean, I think it is an important reminder of the conflict,” said Fuchko.

The Military Museums is five separate museums, each dedicated to a different aspect of the military.

“It just made sense from a relevance perspective and also, largely, both of those regiments are Alberta based,” said Cory.

The unveiling itself was attended by military veterans and their families, and interested citisens. Nearly 100 people were in attendance.

I never knew much about the conflict since I am only 22, but after reading more about it and realizing that it really was not that long ago, it seemed important to attend an event like this,” said Danial Lehn.

While the ones I saw were never this clean, I think it is an important reminder of the conflict. – Mark Fuchko 

The event, as both Cory and Fuchko suggest, is meant to educate people on the military history of Canada and of the recent conflicts in Afghanistan.

WIth the unveiling, the LAV III becomes the fifth vehicle to join the Military Museums Afghan War collection.

Canada’s conflict in Afghanistan, dubbed Operation Apollo, was a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States.

The conflict resulted in the loss of 158 lives with more than 2,000 Canadians wounded during the decade-long conflict, which is Canada’s longest.

About Andrew Bardsley 2 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Andrew Bardsley is working as a writer for The Press during the 2018-19 academic year.