CFB SHEARWATER, N.S. - The 16 Nova Scotians killed while serving in Afghanistan since the conflict began were honoured Monday with the dedication of a new monument.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay and the province's Lt.-Gov. Mayann Francis helped unveil the black granite block during ceremonies at Canadian Forces Base Shearwater.
The monument project was started by Air Force Capt. Bill Thomey as a way of remembering his good friend, Capt. Jeff Francis, who was killed by an improvised explosive device on July 4, 2007, at the age of 37.
"It's great that now we have a location where we can all gather to reflect and really, truly be together, to remember fallen friends and those family members that we've lost," said Thomey following the ceremony.
He said he was participating in a naval exercise off the U.S. coast when word of Canadian casualties gave him a "bad feeling."
He said he learned the very next day that his friend was among the dead.
"I'll remember his strength, his bravery. He was an example to all of us," said Thomey, adding that Francis would be proud of the new memorial.
"I'm sure he'd give me a ribbing about it in some way or another, as a big brother would, because that's kind of the way I thought about him."
Francis's father Russ says he is proud of his son, adding that the memorial would mean a lot to all of those who lost someone in the conflict.
A military chaplain read out the 16 names while dedicating the memorial, which has been in place since August.