The installation of the entrance sign at the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial takes place on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 at Bain Park in Trenton, ON. The final pieces of the memorial are scheduled to be installed on Oct. 29, 2012. Here, staff from Campbell Monument of Belleville, ON., lower the granite sign into place. The memorial, honouring the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the Afghanistan conflict, will be officially unveiled on Nov. 10, 2012
Credits: EMILY MOUNTNEY/TRENTONIAN/QMI AGENCY
HAMILTON, Ont. — A memorial for soldiers killed in Afghanistan is complete and will be installed in Trenton, Ont., on Friday.
Workers at HGH Granite in Hamilton took meticulous care to complete the five pieces of the memorial that will be placed just outside CFB Trenton at Bain Park and officially unveiled on Nov. 10.
About 175 family members of the fallen will come from across Canada for the unveiling.
Quinte West Mayor John Williams said he expected more than 1,000 people at the two-hour ceremony, including senior members of Canada's military, the Afghan ambassador to Canada, the minister of veterans' affairs and hockey pundit Don Cherry.
The $1.2-million project, spearheaded entirely by volunteers and funded solely by Canadians without any government assistance, is a permanent memorial honouring the 158 soldiers who died in Afghanistan.
The name of each fallen soldier is engraved on the monument.
"This will be a real tribute to those who lost their lives in Afghanistan," Williams said. "It has come about through the efforts of ordinary Canadians who want to show their respect to the fallen and their families."
HGH Granite was subcontracted by Campbell Monument Company for the construction of the memorial.
It weighs about 20,000 pounds. The five pieces of granite were shipped from India and arrived two weeks ago.
Workers sandblasted the memorial and one sculptor used a hand chisel to carve it.
The company has created a special sandblasting booth for some of the pieces of the memorial because of their size.
"This is special," HGH Granite president Don Hardwick said.
The company has been family owned for five generations and has created memorials for Dieppe and the World Trade Center.
"It gives you a feeling of doing something good for the community," said stonemason Troy Schermerhorn. "I appreciate my job more when I see where it's going and who it's for."
Schermerhorn also worked on the memorial for the World Trade Center last year.
"You get to experience the patriotism you feel doing something like this," he said. "It's something I can do for my veterans in this country. Because we don't do enough.
"If it wasn't for these people who gave their lives, we wouldn't be able to enjoy the freedom we have today."