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Town looks at recognizing those who served in Afghanistan, on peacekeeping missions on cenotaphs

Motion from Ward 3 Councillor Doug Maskell sparked review


Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Caledon is taking steps to commemorate those who served on United Nations peacekeeping missions and in Afghanistan.

At Caledon Council's February 6 General Committee meeting, Ward 3 Councillor Doug Maskell put forward a motion asking Town staff to investigate adding plaques or inscriptions on Caledon cenotaphs to honour those who served on peacekeeping missions and in Afghanistan.

The motion was unanimously supported by his fellow councillors and is recommended for adoption at the next Caledon Council meeting.

Staff were directed to report back to Council with enough time to complete updates to the cenotaphs before Remembrance Day this year.

There are four cenotaphs in Caledon, one each in Alton, Bolton, Caledon East, and Mono Mills.

They currently commemorate those who served in the two World Wars and in Korea.

Since 1948, more than 125,000 Canadians have served on United Nations missions, with 130 losing their lives. 

More than 40,000 Canadians were deployed to Afghanistan, with 125 being killed and over 2,000 wounded.

Maskell said he got the idea for his motion when he was visiting the Caledon East cenotaph last Remembrance Day. While there, he ran into a couple whose son had served in Afghanistan.

He realized that the son's service was not commemorated on the cenotaph, and wanted to do something to rectify the situation. Maskell felt bad for the family and like they weren't being seen.

“I don't know how many families go to these monuments and there's no recognition of their service,” said Maskell. “I thought, why don't we look at doing an update… as recognition to all those people that have gone over and served on all kinds of missions and represented Canada.”

Maskell is hoping to have the cenotaphs updated by next Remembrance Day, and hopes the Town will be able to mention the updates in its ceremony. He said the cost of adding plaques or inscriptions shouldn't be too much for the Town to take on. 

Ward 2 Councillor Dave Sheen shared that he has many family connections to the military and said he's very supportive of recognizing Canadian Armed Forces personnel. He said Caledon should also start thinking about a new cenotaph in Mayfield West.

Regional Councillor Mario Russo said Maskell's motion was easy to support and that our veterans deserve our respect because they've done so much for us.

Ward 4 Councillor Nick de Boer said he wants to make sure the Royal Canadian Legion is involved in discussions about updating the cenotaphs.

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