The monument is part of a national initiative to honour the men and women of the Canadian Forces who served in Afghanistan, and is a tribute to the community who came together in the sun, rain, sleet and snow on the bridges over the Highway of Heroes. The Highway of Heroes Durham LAV Monument was erected at Clarington Fields and can be seen from the Highway of Heroes.
“This is a chance for our community to come together and honour those brave soldiers who fought for the same freedoms we enjoy here in Canada,” said Clarington Mayor, Adrian Foster. “Our community gathered religiously at the overpasses during the funeral motorcades carrying our fallen soldiers from the repatriation ceremony in Trenton to Toronto; this is a chance for us to record history and remember their bravery and sacrifice.”
"As we have seen with the Korean War, if we do not write histories and commemorate the service and sacrifice of Canadians shortly after the mission, there is a risk that we will not live up to our pledge, 'lest we forget’. Today, our community helps Canada remember those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan,” added Durham MP, Erin O’Toole.
The LAV Monument unveiling ceremony was timed to coincide with the Wounded Warriors Canada Highway of Heroes Bike Ride. The cyclists finished day one of their ride at the LAV Monument unveiling. Wounded Warriors Canada is a Durham Region based national charity, that supports Canada’s ill and injured veterans. The Highway of Heroes Durham LAV Monument Committee drew inspiration from, Bowmanville’s own, Trooper Darryl Caswell’s service and sacrifice for his country.
Trooper Caswell was one of 158 Canadian soldiers who died in action in Afghanistan.
The Municipality of Clarington has been working closely with MP Erin O’Toole, as well as the Highway of Heroes Durham LAV planning Committee, on the monument project. Many local businesses and a local builder, Halminen Homes, generously donated their services in-kind to help erect the monument.
The LAV, or light armoured vehicle, was used primarily by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan for protection and transport. The LAV seen at today’s ceremony was loaned to the Municipality of Clarington.
The actual vehicle hull, which will make up the permanent monument, is currently undergoing a rigorous decommissioning process, that takes months. The decommissioned LAV hull will be delivered sometime in Spring.