Canada's Afghan War vets honoured with exhibit in Royal Montreal Regiment
Five years after the end of Canada’s longest war veterans who served in Afghanistan are being honoured in a new exhibit in the Royal Montreal Regiment.
Roughly 40,000 Canadian troops served in the war between 2001 and 2014. Among them was Cpt. Alan Vincent who was deployed to Kandahar as part of a reconstruction team that rebuilt roads and schools. He said that despite not serving in a combat role, danger was always near.
“We were waiting around and I was having a conversation with the Afghan police. One of them noticed the dirt was disturbed and we called in the dogs and discovered an (improvised explosive device),” he said. “All that remained was to arm it and detonate it and I would not be here today.”
Vincent is one of a dozen troops who offered testimonials that comprise the new exhibit, which highlight the heroics of Canada’s youngest war veterans.
Lt. Col. Colin Robinson (ret.) is the honorary colonel for the Royal Montreal Regiment. He said hopes the exhibit reminds Canadians that all veterans, no matter their age, deserve thanks.
“The perception that people have is that a veteran is 85-years-old and shuffling along in a walker,” he said. “I can guarantee you that when the ramps came down on the beaches of Dieppe, they were not 85-year-old men getting out in walkers. They were young men and today we have young men and young women who are putting their lives on the line throughout the world.”
Vincent said he isn’t looking for praise but that Canadians know what their soldiers were doing in Afghanistan.
“Not many people really know the details, they know we took losses and we had people there but what that entailed, people know very little,” he said. “If we don’t talk about what we experienced, then we don’t learn from the things that happened in the past.”
Remembering Afghanistan: Reflections of Canadian Soldiers runs until Nov. 10 at the Royal Montreal Regiment, 4625 Ste-Catherine St. W. Admission is free. More info here.