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War memorial unveiled in hometown of Afghan mission's last Canadian casualty

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War memorial unveiled in hometown of Afghan mission's last Canadian casualty

Post by Guest on Sun 30 Jul 2017, 06:25

War memorial unveiled in hometown of Afghan mission's last Canadian casualty


Bill Graveland, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Saturday, July 29, 2017 7:49:42 EDT PM



Lindsay Greff, left, who's husband Byron was the last soldier killed in Afghanistan, and veteran Maury Gratrix lay a wreath as the Lacombe Afghanistan Memorial Committee unveils a memorial to honour the 158 Canadian service men and women and four civilians killed in Afghanistan during Canada's mission between 2001 and 2014, in Lacombe, Alta., Saturday, July 29, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

LACOMBE, Alta. — Family and friends of Master Cpl. Byron Greff don’t want the 28-year-old to be remembered as a footnote to Canada’s mission to Afghanistan.

On Oct. 29, 2011 Greff, who was serving with the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, was riding in an armoured bus as part of a military convoy in Kabul. A Taliban suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives targeted the bus - killing 17 people including Greff.

He became Canada’s final casualty in Afghanistan - and the only Canadian soldier killed after Canada had completed its military mission several months before.

“Remembrance Day is every day for us and that’s my motto. Doing something like this brings everyone together and it’s just a reminder of the sacrifice,” his wife Lindsay told The Canadian Press in an interview after the unveiling of an Afghanistan memorial in his hometown of Lacombe, Alta.

“It does not get easier with time.”



Greff, who was accompanied by her daughter Brielle, 5, broke into tears when asked what she wanted Canadians to know about her husband.

“That he was a husband and a father and we miss him so much.”

There were 158 Canadian Forces personnel and four civilians killed during the Afghan conflict.

The plaque attached to the decommissioned LAV 3 armoured vehicle read: “In recognition and memory of the efforts of approximately 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel who served and the 162 Canadians who died in the cause of bringing peace and freedom to the people of Afghanistan.”

https://www.facebook.com/BlaineCalkinsMP/videos/1660955930583720/

Former Cpl. Maury Gratrix, a retired sniper who came up through the ranks with Greff and went to Afghanistan together in 2007, Greff was typical of the soldiers who signed up to the dangers in the war torn country.

“He knew the risks going over there and it’s unfortunate that happened but in the big scheme of things it was a pretty honourable way to go and I think we’re all very proud of him.”

Gratrix describes Greff as friendly and intensive and a soldier who took his job very seriously.

“He was a C-9 gunner for a lot of his time there and he was that go to guy if you needed that extra firepower,” said Gratrix who was thinking of Greff and the other soldiers who died overseas.

“It’s long overdue and not just for Byron but for all Afghan veterans. You don’t see a lot of Afghan memorials around and the fact that it’s starting here is a great way to kick it off for sure.”

Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie was a close friend of the Greff family.

“Byron was always in the neighbourhood - a little terror and not scared of anything,” said Christie, who was mayor when Greff was killed.

“To have a memorial to honour what he has given, the sacrifices that he gave - not only for Lacombe, for Alberta but his country. It’s an honour to be part of it and it’s an honour to have it right here in his hometown.”

Christie said it was a “sobering moment” when he heard Byron had died.

“He was one of ours and we miss him dearly and to have something that recognizes the sacrifices that he gave is important,” he said.

Red Deer MP Blaine Calkins said nothing can bring Byron Greff.

“The words that we say here today will not bring back that father or husband or son to us,” Calkins said.

“This monument will not bring back any of the 162 Canadians lost in Afghanistan but it does stand as a reminder for a family and their connection to a father, a husband and a son.”

Greff had been on his second deployment to Afghanistan.

http://www.lfpress.com/2017/07/29/war-memorial-unveiled-in-lacombe

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We miss him so much’ – War memorial unveiled in hometown of Afghan missions last casualty

Post by Guest on Mon 31 Jul 2017, 18:42



We miss him so much’ – War memorial unveiled in hometown of Afghan missions last casualty


THE CANADIAN PRESSMon Jul 31st, 2017

Family and friends of Master Cpl. Byron Greff don’t want the 28-year-old to be remembered as a footnote to Canada’s mission to Afghanistan.

On Oct. 29, 2011 Greff, who was serving with the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, was riding in an armoured bus as part of a military convoy in Kabul. A Taliban suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives targeted the bus – killing 17 people including Greff.

He became Canada’s final casualty in Afghanistan – and the only Canadian soldier killed after Canada had completed its military mission several months before.

“Remembrance Day is every day for us and that’s my motto. Doing something like this brings everyone together and it’s just a reminder of the sacrifice,” his wife Lindsay told The Canadian Press in an interview after the unveiling of an Afghanistan memorial in his hometown of Lacombe.

“It does not get easier with time.”

Greff, who was accompanied by her daughter Brielle, 5, broke into tears when asked what she wanted Canadians to know about her husband.

“That he was a husband and a father and we miss him so much.”

There were 158 Canadian Forces personnel and four civilians killed during the Afghan conflict.

The plaque attached to the decommissioned LAV 3 armoured vehicle read: “In recognition and memory of the efforts of approximately 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel who served and the 162 Canadians who died in the cause of bringing peace and freedom to the people of Afghanistan.”

blackpress.tv

Former Cpl. Maury Gratrix, a retired sniper who came up through the ranks with Greff and went to Afghanistan together in 2007, Greff was typical of the soldiers who signed up to the dangers in the war torn country.

“He knew the risks going over there and it’s unfortunate that happened but in the big scheme of things it was a pretty honourable way to go and I think we’re all very proud of him.”

Gratrix describes Greff as friendly and intensive and a soldier who took his job very seriously.

“He was a C-9 gunner for a lot of his time there and he was that go to guy if you needed that extra firepower,” said Gratrix who was thinking of Greff and the other soldiers who died overseas.

“It’s long overdue and not just for Byron but for all Afghan veterans. You don’t see a lot of Afghan memorials around and the fact that it’s starting here is a great way to kick it off for sure.”

Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie was a close friend of the Greff family.

“Byron was always in the neighbourhood – a little terror and not scared of anything,” said Christie, who was mayor when Greff was killed.

“To have a memorial to honour what he has given, the sacrifices that he gave – not only for Lacombe, for Alberta but his country. It’s an honour to be part of it and it’s an honour to have it right here in his hometown.”

Christie said it was a “sobering moment” when he heard Byron had died.

“He was one of ours and we miss him dearly and to have something that recognizes the sacrifices that he gave is important,” he said.

Red Deer MP Blaine Calkins said nothing can bring Byron Greff.

“The words that we say here today will not bring back that father or husband or son to us,” Calkins said.

“This monument will not bring back any of the 162 Canadians lost in Afghanistan but it does stand as a reminder for a family and their connection to a father, a husband and a son.”

Greff had been on his second deployment to Afghanistan.



http://www.reddeeradvocate.com/news/we-miss-him-so-much-war-memorial-unveiled-in-hometown-of-afghan-missions-last-casualty/

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Lacombe Afghanistan Memorial formally unveiled during ceremony

Post by Guest on Tue 01 Aug 2017, 16:59


HONOUR - Many gathered this past Saturday afternoon for the official unveiling and dedication of the Lacombe Afghanistan Memorial in the Lacombe Cemetery’s Field of Honour. A CF-18 Hornet fly-by took place during the ceremony as well. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

Lacombe Afghanistan Memorial formally unveiled during ceremony


Memorial dedication ceremony held this past weekend


MARK WEBER Tue Aug 1st, 2017

The Lacombe Afghanistan Memorial was officially unveiled and dedicated this past weekend in a moving ceremony.

Officials, local politicians and members of the public gathered at Fairview Cemetery Veteran’s Field of Honour for the LAVIII memorial dedication on Saturday afternoon.

“This project has been underway for a little over 18 months now, and I’m delighted to welcome all of you to the City of Lacombe for the unveiling of the memorial here today,” said Mayor Steve Christie.

It was due to the efforts of the federal government, the province, the City of Lacombe along with the Royal Canadian Legion and many Lacombe citizens, that the realization of having the monument – a Canadian Light Armour Vehicle III (LAVIII) – in the local cemetery came to be. The memorial pays tribute to the 40,000 Canadian soldiers who served in Afghanistan and the 162 Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in service to their country.

The last soldier who lost his life in Afghanistan was Lacombe resident Master Cpl. Byron Greff, who served in the Third Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins said, “Every once in while, when evil rears its head around the world, and it has real consequences for the people in it – we have to send our men and women. And there are consequences for those families here at home. Make no mistake – members of parliament know this very well,” he said, before personally thanking members of the Greff family for being at the dedication ceremony.

“Byron grew up in Lacombe and he went to school here,” said Calkins. “He met (his wife) Lindsay in Edmonton after completing his basic training. Byron was a well-respected soldier with the Princess Patricia’s. He was also a devoted husband and father.

“The words we say here today will not bring back that father and husband or son to us. And this monument won’t bring back any of the 162 Canadians lost in Afghanistan. But it does stand as a reminder for a family, and their connection to a father and a husband and a son. Monuments like this one deliver a message to our veterans, and to their families, that their sacrifice, service and loss will not be forgotten. Our community came together to make sure there was a place for veterans, service members and their families to gather and to feel that connection of that service.

“My hope is that this monument leaves a lasting heartfelt impression for our troops and the families it’s dedicated to. I hope it leaves a lasting memory for our community that comes to view it.”

Ron Orr, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, said what an absolute privilege it is to have the memorial here in Lacombe.

“I especially want to thank our MP Blaine Calkins because this would not have happened without his leadership. It was his vision and his work that called together the committee in the first place to see this through. So thank you to Blaine and your committee for what you have done to make this a reality,” he said.

“And thanks to all of you who volunteered and donated and contributed in order to make this vision into a concrete reality that we have here standing today. Monuments as memorials are important to our collective and social memory. Significant signs like this are visual cues to remembrance, awareness and learning,” he said.

“They create wonder and a curiosity that connect us with the past, and with realities that are distant to us,” he said. “Such memorial monuments will invite questions and conversations and learning for many years to come amongst our people.”

Orr said that one of the things that is remembered in this monument is honouring 40,000 Canadian soldiers who served in Afghanistan.

“One hundred and sixty-two died which has been mentioned. And that the last soldier killed in Afghanistan was one of us – Master Corporal Byron Greff. We also learn by these kinds of memorials the hard truth expressed in a very old Latin phrase, ‘If you want peace, prepare for war’. Everybody in our world wants peace, but peace requires vigilance, courage and determination.

“And while peace may feel passive – the road to peace never is. It must be actively sought and defended.”

Susan Churchill, president of the Royal Canadian Legion branch #79, said that freedom comes from those who have dedicated their lives to ensuring that we as a country have the rights and freedoms to make our own choices.

“The conflict in Afghanistan has been Canada’s longest conflict, and most significant engagement since our involvement in the Korean War,” she said. “The peace and comforts that we enjoy have come at a price of which 162 men and women paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan. This affects us here in Lacombe because Master Corporal Byron Greff – the last Canadian soldier killed in action – was from our very own City.

“This really drives home what our patriotic men and women do for us, and how we as a country need to stand up for those all over the globe to have the freedoms that we have here at home,” she said. “(This monument) also stands as the Legion’s promise that no veteran will ever be forgotten,” she added. “We should all thank every member of our armed forces who have served or are currently serving because we have the freedom of choice to do so.”

Lacombe native Bryce Talsma joined the Canadian forces in 2006 as a direct entry officer. In 2008, he completed training as an infantry officer and was signed to the First Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, said Calkins.

“In September of 2009 until April of 2010, he had the distinction and honour of commanding a mechanized infantry platoon in southern Afghanistan in the harshest environments he had every seen, with pride – working with the Canadian troops for a more free, and peaceful Afghanistan. Bryce played an important role in our fundraising efforts when he volunteered to come out and talk to our community about the LAVIII earlier this year.”

Talsma said having his own community supported the establishing of the monument in Lacombe was extremely meaningful.

“Today we are unveiling this Light Armoured vehicle – a symbol for some of violence and destruction – a symbol of war. For those who have served and fought in Afghanistan, and for me, it became a symbol of hope and of security. A symbol of Canada,” he said.

“Thank you so much – I can’t begin to express to you exactly what this means. Thank you.”

https://www.reddeerexpress.com/news/lacombe-afghanistan-memorial-formally-unveiled-during-ceremony/

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