A Canadian Soldier, dressed in scarlet stands vigilant during the dedication of the Afghanistan Memorial in Trenton, Ontario. His refection is eerily cast on the polished granite. The stone is dedicated to the Canadians who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in Afghanistan.
As a Paramedic in Trenton, Roger organizes the Emergency Medical Services participation for the Highway of Heroes and took part in the Memorial to honour the sacrifices made by our Canadian soldiers. He captured this moment during the dedication ceremony of the Afghanistan Memorial, located along Highway #2 and RCAF Road.
Trenton is the Gateway to the Highway of Heroes. Every Canadian killed in Afghanistan is first repatriated to 8 Wing, CFB Trenton. On arrival a ceremony of Remembrance is held on the ramp and this is the first contact for the grieving families of the deceased. Then the hearse carrying the fallen soldiers flag draped casket proceeds with the family to Toronto.
When the first soldiers killed in Afghanistan arrived, many citizens of Trenton and surrounding communities gathered at the fence line to the airfield to pay their respects. With each succeeding repatriation, as the route of the procession became known, every bridge along Highway 401 was lined by thousands of Canadians.
This was not an organized tribute, it was simply something people felt compelled to do. Without direction or encouragement, people came to show their support for the families in their grief and respect for the soldiers who had made the ultimate sacrifice.
In the fall of 2008, Roger approached Trenton mayor John Williams, MP Rick Norlock and MPP Lou Rinaldi for support to privately construct a memorial in Trenton along the route of the Highway of Heroes. The plan was to have Emergency Services spearhead the design, construction and finance of the memorial, with all Canadians able to contribute.
Unfortunately, the idea could not pass the discussion phase. later Quinte West took up the cause and was able to bring the memorial to completion with the dedication ceremony taking place on 10 November 2012.
The Afghanistan memorial is stunning, set on the shores of the Bay of Quinte next to the route taken on the Highway of Heroes.