Canadian War Museum showcases six new artifacts marking Canadian service in Afghanistan

May 7, 2014

Ottawa, Ontario, May 7, 2014 – The Canadian War Museum is marking the National Day of Honour on May 9 by showcasing six extraordinary objects to represent the service and sacrifice of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel in Afghanistan. The Next of Kin canvas and the wood sculpture Highway of Heroes are among the artifacts being placed on prominent display in the Museum’s Main Lobby.

“As this latest chapter in Canada’s military history comes to an end, the Canadian War Museum is proud to salute military personnel who served and died during Canada’s mission in Afghanistan,” said James Whitham, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “The Next of Kin canvas and Highway of Heroes recognize not only the service of CAF personnel, but also the special burden borne by loved ones back home.”

About 40,000 members of Canada’s military served in a variety of roles at sea, on land and in the air during Canada’s 12-year mission in Afghanistan. By the time the mission ended on March 12, 2014, 158 Canadian soldiers had died, and more than 2,000 had been wounded. It was the most extensive combat role undertaken by the CAF since the Korean War in the 1950s.

The Next of Kin canvas bears the signatures of family members of CAF personnel who died in Afghanistan. The canvas was created at Camp Mirage, a Canadian staging base in the United Arab Emirates. More than 120 families passed through the base on their way to and from Kandahar, Afghanistan on “Next of Kin” visits.

Highway of Heroes, by Bowmanville woodcarver Jan Oegema, depicts the repatriation of Canadian personnel and the moving informal tribute that began in 2002. As convoys bearing the remains of those who died overseas travelled along Highway 401 from CFB Trenton to the coroner’s office in Toronto, Ontarians lined the overpasses to pay their respects. This grassroots phenomenon eventually led that stretch of road being renamed the “Highway of Heroes.”

Also on display are four stunning pieces of nose art by Corporal Richard Aucoin. He painted the colourful images — titled Gun Slinger, To The Finish, Gyrfalcon and Dragon’s Breath — on the fuselage of Canadian CH-146 Griffon helicopters while he was serving in Afghanistan in 2011. These works are on loan from the Department of National Defence.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions.

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Media contacts:

Yasmine Mingay
Manager,   Public Affairs
Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8608
Avra   Gibbs Lamey
Communications and Media Relations Officer
Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8607

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