Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Premier Brad Wall and other dignitaries recognized the contributions of Saskatchewan civilians and soldiers during a flag ceremony today to help mark the end of Canada’s military mission to Afghanistan.
“It’s hard to believe that over a decade has passed since Canada became involved in the war in Afghanistan,” Solomon Schofield said. “Every day, Canadian Forces and civilians have risked their lives to protect the innocent victims of the conflict, and to bring peace to this troubled country. As we mark the end of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, we owe each individual who has served our deepest thanks and ongoing support.”
“Canada helped boot the terror camps out of business and the world was safer for it,” Wall said. “The dedication, bravery and professionalism of these men and women who left their families, friends and loved ones at home to put themselves in harm’s way on foreign soil shall not be taken for granted or forgotten by Saskatchewan people. We owe them and their families a collective debt for their sacrifices that shall never be fully repaid.”
All flags at the Legislative Building and the nearby Saskatchewan War Memorial began the day at half-mast to honour the contributions and sacrifices of those involved with the Afghanistan mission. During the afternoon ceremony, a Canadian flag on a special pole in front of the Prince of Wales Entrance at the Legislative Building was raised to full height to symbolize the end of the military contribution to the mission in that overseas country. Flags at the war memorial and the legislative building were also then raised to full height.
“Canada’s participation in the mission to Afghanistan was steeped in honour and selfless dedication, qualities our soldiers proudly have displayed throughout our nation’s history,” Commander 38 Canadian Brigade Group Col. Ross Ermel said. “The 38 Canadian Brigade Group played an integral part in the mission, sending many soldiers overseas. These primary reserve citizen soldiers exemplified the courage, loyalty and spirit innate in our soldiers.
“We are deeply appreciative of the Government of Saskatchewan’s initiative to commemorate the mission in Afghanistan and applaud the overwhelming support the province and its people have shown to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces. We reminisce on the many great accomplishments our men and women achieved and it is with heavy hearts we remember our fallen comrades. Although the mission has come to a close, our duty to ensure our wounded and their families are taken care of remains the critical focus of my Brigade.”
The 38 Canadian Brigade Group is an Army Reserve Formation of 3rd Canadian Division, headquartered in Winnipeg and comprises reserve units distributed throughout northwestern Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
The names of 17 soldiers and civilians with ties to Saskatchewan who have perished in the conflict are enshrined on the Saskatchewan War Memorial.
The Government of Saskatchewan encourages all communities and schools to take the time to remember and learn about Canada’s role in the mission.
Canada will no longer have a military mission in Afghanistan after March.