Highway of Heroes Durham LAV Monument Official Dedication Ceremony
Clarington, ON August 22, 2017 – The Highway of Heroes Durham LAV Monument was officially dedicated on Saturday, August 19th by General (Retd) Rick Hillier, former Chief of the Defence Staff. Alongside General Hillier speakers at the ceremony included Durham Member of Parliament Erin O’Toole, Durham Member of Provincial Parliament Granville Anderson, Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster, and Chris Richards on behalf of St Marys Cement, the project’s presenting sponsor. Over five hundred people from the community were in attendance; politicians from all three levels of government, military representatives, veterans and family members of those who served, attended this important ceremony.
This monument serves as a permanent reminder of the immense sacrifice of the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) during the thirteen year mission in Afghanistan and stands as a tribute to those local community members who came together along the Highway of Heroes to show their last respects. The site features a decommissioned Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV), as well as numerous interactive commemorative and technology-infused, educational plaques to keep the memory of the mission alive for future generations. During the mission, over 40, 000 Canadians served in Afghanistan, with 158 making the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Included on the site is a panel in memory of Pte. Darryl Caswell, a native of Bowmanville who was killed while serving in Afghanistan on June 11, 2007 and is remembered for his loyalty and love of Canada.
Initially conceived by the Hon. Erin O’Toole to honour the service of the members of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, a partnership with the Municipality of Clarington – who donated the land for the monument along the historical Highway of Heroes – made this project possible. Following a grass-roots fundraising campaign by the Highway of Heroes Durham LAV Planning Committee and tremendous support from countless organizations, businesses, and individuals from across the Durham Region, an unveiling ceremony was held on September 24, 2016.
The official dedication ceremony was held at 4:00pm on August 19th, 2017 in Clarington Fields and coincided with the arrival of the Wounded Warriors Highway of Heroes Bike Ride cyclists, whose first day of riding in support of veterans, first responders, and their families dealing with the mental impacts of their service will conclude at the monument. General Hillier’s role as guest of honour was especially fitting given his crucial leadership during the Afghan mission as well as his involvement with the monument from its early stages.
For more information, please contact Stacey Haley, Project Coordinator and Member of the Highway of Heroes Durham LAV Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 905-441-5074. www.durhamlavmonument.ca