Sunday marked the start of Veterans Week in Regina with a re-dedication of the Cenotaph, commemorating Canada’s participation in the Boer War and in the mission to Afghanistan.
“When they put together the Cenotaph originally and dedicated it in 1926, they hadn’t taken into account the Boer War. But the Boer War was, in fact, the first war where Canadians were deployed overseas,” said Lt.-Cmdr. James Balfour, senior naval reserve chaplain.
While those who fought in the Boer War are no longer here to share their stories, Balfour says their sacrifice will forever be remembered.
“Their sacrifice matters because their name is now up on the Cenotaph, and it matters because all of the people who are here today will never let it be forgotten,” Balfour said.
Around the Cenotaph, 159 poppies lined the fence, each bearing the name and age of a soldier who died fighting in the mission to Afghanistan.
Several veterans who served in Afghanistan were also present, including Sgt. Terance Elford.
“What it meant for me, well, it’s one of those things that brings it home again,” Elford said. “It’s been a while since I was overseas, but it’s good to see a little bit of local pride.”
The unveiling of the new plaque will stand as a reminder of the sacrifice made by both living veterans and those who never made it home, but Balfour says peacekeepers should also be remembered.
“One of the little-known facts is that there were more peacekeepers killed in peacekeeping action than died in Afghanistan,” Balfour said. “We need to make sure the peacekeepers are up there.”
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