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Lacombe Afghanistan Memorial an enduring symbol of remembrance

Above: Mayor Steve Christie looks on as MLA Blaine Calkins addresses the crowd at the LAVIII monument dedication ceremony.

Lacombe, Alberta (July 29, 2017) – Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins, Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr, Mayor Steve Christie, Royal Canadian Legion Lacombe Branch No. 79 President Susan Churchill and Canadian Pacific (CP) Director, Government Affairs, Mike LoVecchio, today joined the Lacombe Afghanistan Memorial Project Committee and special guests at a special unveiling and dedication ceremony for the LAVIII monument at Fairview Cemetery in Lacombe.

”I am so proud to represent the constituents of Lacombe and to honour the service and sacrifice of our Canadian Armed Forces; the 158 Canadian soldiers and 4 civilians who paid the ultimate price,” said MP Blaine Calkins. “It is my hope that this monument delivers an unmistakable message to our veterans; that their service, sacrifice and loss will not be forgotten. This monument will allow all to reflect and remember how they choose. I hope it leaves a heart-felt impression for those troops who touch it, and a lasting memory for civilians who view this monument for the very first time.”

“Memorial monuments function as significant signs, visual clues to remembrance, awareness and learning,” said MLA Ron Orr. “A memorial such as this creates curiosity and provokes questions that connect us with the past and realities that are distant from us. We remember those who sacrificed for freedom in our world, and we are made aware that we must do our part and our children learn the history that is our heritage.”

“The residents of Lacombe receive the LAV III monument as a powerful symbol of remembrance, which honours the service and sacrifice of our young men and women during the Afghan conflict,” said Mayor Steve Christie. “It reminds us of the ultimate sacrifice paid by Master Corporal Byron Greff, who was born and raised in Lacombe, and who served his city, his province and his country with honour. On behalf of Council, I want to thank the Lacombe Afghanistan Memorial Project Committee and our many sponsors for their efforts in bringing this monument to our community.”

“We as a free country have to stand up and help all to get the freedoms that we enjoy,” said Royal Canadian Legion Lacombe Branch No. 79 President Susan Churchill. “But that freedom comes at a price, of which 158 men and women paid the ultimate sacrifice, one of them being our own Master Corporal Byron Greff. This Afghanistan monument stands as the Legion’s promise that not veteran will ever be forgotten.”

“I believe this will be another great monument to remember the history of our country and people can come and see it right here in the city of Lacombe,” said Lacombe Afghanistan Memorial Committee representative Calvin Swarbrick.

“Congratulations to the Lacombe LAV Committee and to all of its supporters! Canada Company developed this program for communities exactly like yours who wanted to ensure that their local modern-day veterans and families were recognized in a special and symbolic way for their contributions in our nations' longest conflict,” said Canada Company LAVIII Project Manager Shawn Deane. “Today, Lacombe joins this new wave of veteran appreciation rolling across the country. The Veteran’s Field of Honour is a fitting location to commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and to encourage visitors to reflect upon the price paid to defend our way of life and freedoms. The discovery within these special moments can be immeasurable.”

“Canadian Pacific is proud to have facilitated the delivery of this Light Armoured Vehicle to the community for the memorial,” said Mike LoVecchio, Director, Government Affairs, Canadian Pacific. “CP has a long history of military involvement and continues to support veterans today by giving to important programs and offering employment. It is fitting that as we mark Canada’s 150th Anniversary, we are able to reflect on and celebrate the efforts of the men and women who fought for our country in the past and the present.”

The LAV III Monument installation honours the service and sacrifice of our Canadian Armed Forces during the war in Afghanistan.158 armed forces members paid the ultimate sacrifice while participating in our country’s military efforts in Afghanistan. A further four civilians also paid the ultimate sacrifice while working in Afghanistan.

The Canadian-made LAV IIIs were used extensively in Afghanistan and were instrumental in carrying out many of the Canadian Armed Forces missions. The sturdy machines played an integral role in keeping our soldiers safe during missions, providing them with a home away from home and protecting them from multiple threats, including suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices.