Afghanistan Memorial unveils legacy project

Dr. Richard and Jane Nuttall, parents of the late Lt Andrew Nuttall who died in 2009 from an IED in Kandahar. Photo by SLt M.X. Déry

Dr. Richard and Jane Nuttall, parents of the late Lt Andrew Nuttall who died in 2009 from an IED in Kandahar. Photo by SLt M.X. Déry

SLt M.X. Déry, MARPAC PA ~

Despite the wind and cold, members of the Greater Victoria Afghanistan Memorial Project (GVAMP) Society unveiled two interpretive panels at the Memorial site at the corner of Quadra and Courtenay on Wednesday April  11 with the help of the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

“It is truly an honour to be here,” said LGov Guichon at the unveiling, happy to see the project wrap up in such a positive way. “It allows young people to come here and learn the story of that particular war,” she added.

The two panels add an educational aspect to the site. The first panel, Canada in Afghanistan, focusses on Canada’s humanitarian contribution in Afghanistan, including the increase in teachers, improved access to health care, and the advancement of women’s rights.

The panel includes a quote from the late Lieutenant Andrew Nuttall on why he deployed to Afghanistan: “I’m going to be helping the Afghan people.”

Lieutenant Andrew Nuttall was killed by an Improvised Explosive Device in 2009 in Kandahar; he is survived by his parents, Dr. Richard Nuttall and Jane Nuttall, who still live in Victoria.

To Dr. Richard Nuttall, the Memorial and the new panels hold a special significance.

“It means a great deal,” he said. “These interpretive signs show what Canada’s contribution was.”

At the centre of the first panel is the full colour image of Corporal Michael McCauley and an Afghan child, which became the centrepiece of the Afghanistan Memorial in Victoria as silhouettes carved forever into the granite.

“The image of the soldier and the child, it epitomises what we were there for,” said John Azar, a GVAMP board member.

The second panel, Remembering and Honouring, explains the sacrifices made by Canadians, whether it be the mental and physical wounds they endured, the impact on their families and loved ones, or the 158 Canadian Armed Forces personnel and five civilians who made the supreme sacrifice.

“It is remembered and it is honoured,” said Dr. Nuttall. “It made a difference.”

The additions to the Memorial are part of the winding down of the GVAMP Society that is required to divest itself of all leftover funds from the creation of the site. As the Memorial cost less than anticipated due to a change in the original location, most of the remaining funds were donated to Cockrell House, which provides shelter, food and support services to former members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Regular and Reserve who are homeless or under-housed.

The last of the funds were used to create the two panel, and print full and quarter-sized versions for sale to Canadians and organizations across the country, with proceeds from the sales being donated to organizations that support veterans.

John Azar describes it as a legacy project, as “something that will carry on beyond the site,” he added.

While he doesn’t expect it to raise large sums of money, it will raise awareness and “help people understand the impact,” he said.

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