Cardigan salutes Afghanistan veterans

Mitch MacDonald
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Ten names added to small P.E.I. community’s cenotaph

Cardigan Royal Canadian Legion president Grace Blackette’s daughter served as an OR nurse during three tours in Afghanistan.

Rachel Blackette Cane’s name was one of 10 added to the local cenotaph during a ceremony last week.

“This was pretty close to my heart,” Blackette said.

“We’re very proud of her and all the other veterans and we’re very thankful they all came back. It’s quite a significant thing to have that many young veterans from a small community who all served in Afghanistan.”

Blackette said most legion presidents create a “signature project” while in office and honouring people from the community who served during the Afghan mission was very personal to her.

She noted the small area made a significant contribution to the mission, with 10 veterans who served in different roles. Three of them were present at the May 28 unveiling.

Blackette said the Cardigan legion was rejuvenated in 2001 and the monument was erected six years ago.

Last week’s ceremony didn’t just honour the area’s Afghanistan veterans.

Sixteen names of veterans from the former Dundas consolidated school area, which is now part of Cardigan consolidated school district, were also carved in the cenotaph.

“This created an opportunity to add veterans’ names from other wars from districts now in the Cardigan area,” said Blackette.

The ceremony also saw a reception hosted by the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

“It was a very proud evening to be the leader of Cardigan Legion and the support of the legion members and community is a testament to the veterans’ families, local people and organizations.”

Blackette said she is unaware of any other legions having added Afghanistan veterans to their monuments.

While she said some smaller communities may not have any veterans who served in Afghanistan, she hopes the ones that do will soon add those names to their cenotaphs.

“I believe it’s a great idea for all legions who have had young soldiers serve in the Afghanistan war.”

Blackette also said while only one of the area’s 10 Afghanistan veterans was physically injured during a tour, the ceremony also remembered the 158 Canadians killed during the war.

“Many thousands were injured and many more thousands suffered from PTSD,” she said. “We never really know the true cost of war.”

Organizations: Cardigan Royal Canadian Legion, Presbyterian Church

Geographic location: Afghanistan, P.E.I.

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