Tug-of-war delayed Afghanistan memorial date

Members of the Canadian Forces Command led by Brigadier General Dean Milner, Commander Joint Task Force Afghanistan and Task Force Kandahar board a Canadian Air Force plane together with 123 Canadian military personnel at Kandahar military base in southern Afghanistan on early hours of July 18, 2011, as Canada ends its combat mission in Afghanistan. Combat Camera, HO

OTTAWA – A memorial for Canadians killed in Afghanistan is making its way across Canada this summer and fall, but only after a drawn-out struggle inside the department over how and when to commemorate the mission.

Sources familiar with planning for the display say delays and disagreements went on for months between the defence minister’s office and the chief of defence staff, part of the often-difficult dynamic between the two centres of power.

READ MORE: Families of fallen Canadians in Afghanistan reflect on loss

The result was a hastily announced unveiling a year ago on Parliament Hill that left some military families wondering why they were given so little notice.

The idea of bringing the 190 granite plaques etched with the faces of soldiers and civilians killed in Afghanistan stretched back to 2012.

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READ MORE: Canada’s Afghan mission tribute not finalized

The plaques came from a cenotaph erected at the Canadian Forces base in Kandahar.

Officials and political staff were aware of criticism within the military that there had not yet been a real tribute to the Afghan mission and its fallen soldiers, even though there had been a significant commemoration for the short mission in Libya in 2011.