REGINA – The Afghanistan Memorial Vigil is making a stop in the city this week at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building.
“We say, ‘Lest we forget,’ all the time. Truly, these guys were not forgotten,” said Lt. Col. Victor Sattler, Royal Regina Rifles Commander.
The memorial is mainly made up of 158 photos of the 158 fallen Canadian soldiers.
“The price we paid was the price we paid,” said Col. Ross Ermel, 38 Canadian Brigade Group Commander. “Saskatchewan has provided a lot, a tremendous number of exceptional young men and women to serve in the Canadian forces in Afghanistan.”
Sattler put 17 poppies beside select photos on the memorial, which stretches the length of one side of the Saskatchewan Gallery circle, to represent the number of dead solider with roots in the province.
He said losing a comrade spurs disbelief, but he chooses to “reflect on the good times.”
A ceremony was held Tuesday morning to mark the opening of the memorial, which is open to the public between 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. daily until Saturday.
“It’s surprisingly emotional. You know, you hear some buzz words and you’re trying to fight back the tears,” said Sattler.
Cpl. David Braun, who was born and raised in Raymore, was killed three weeks into duty by a suicide bomber. His mom, Patty, found out about his death at a chiropractor’s appointment.
“This is pretty blunt, but it really doesn’t matter where you are or how you hear, dead is dead,” she said.
Patty previously saw the memorial at Kandahar Airfield cenotaph in 2010. Seeing the memorial again on Saskatchewan soil is a different experience but one that provides an opportunity to share David’s story, even if it’s still a challenging journey for her.
“The things that I think are going to be are easy aren’t, and the things that I think are going to be hard aren’t, but I’m so glad that the people of Saskatchewan are going to be able to see this memorial,” said Braun.
The memorial, which has been on the road since May 4, is travelling across the country and U.S.
The final destination is Ottawa in time for Remembrance week in November.
A permanent home for the memorial has yet to be determined.