A new exhibit in Calgary is paying tribute to many of Canada’s younger military veterans this Remembrance Day, a salute to those who served in Afghanistan that will soon be seen far beyond the city.
The exhibit Mission: Afghanistan features many items brought back from Afghanistan.
Now on display at the Military Museums, the exhibit focuses on Canada’s role in Afghanistan.
“About 40,000 Canadian veterans went to Afghanistan,” senior curator Rory Cory said, “so it’s really important to recognize the sacrifices of our veterans there.”
The exhibit holds special significance for the museum’s director, David Peabody.
“This is really a very unique collection,” Peabody said. “It brings back a lot of the feel of being over there.”
Peabody served with Canadian forces in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012.
“An exhibit like this, that really shows the Canadian experience in Afghanistan, is going to help shape people’s understanding of what’s happening now and also, very importantly, the experiences of the veterans who served over there,” Peabody said.
“They carry these experiences with them.”
Memories of conflict and turmoil in Afghanistan are vivid for museum volunteer Kawa Aahangar, who helped put the Mission: Afghanistan exhibit together.
The Afghan immigrant is grateful for the hope and freedom Canadian forces helped bring to his country.
“Unfortunately, right now, there is a dark cloud above my country, but the people of Afghanistan will never give up,” Aahangar said. “They are resisting these dark clouds, and they are trying to bring the sunshine again back to my country.”
Museum officials are hoping the items currently on display will become part of a larger permanent Afghanistan exhibit at the Military Museums.
A fundraising effort for that project is set to begin, and in the meantime, a version of the current exhibit will soon go to a much wider audience.
“To many, many places across Canada, perhaps even to the United States, perhaps even to Europe,” Cory said. “The Juno Beach Academy in France has been interested in it, the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C., has been interested in it as well.”
Peabody is hopeful that visitors in those places will learn from Mission: Afghanistan.
“The more people we can reach with this story, the better.”