If you’re looking for a spot to privately pause and reflect this Remembrance Day, a trip to Morinville, just a half-hour drive north of the city, might be worth your while.
In early October, the LAV III Monument, located on the grounds of the Morinville Leisure Centre, was opened. It was the culmination of years of effort and fundraising by the local Rotary Club. The LAV III is a decommissioned Canadian military vehicle, and visitors are welcome to come right up to it — you can even spin some of the tires. The dedication on the plaque placed next to the LAV III really says it all: “In recognition and memory of the efforts of approximately 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel who served and the 162 Canadians who died in the cause of bringing peace and freedom to the people of Afghanistan.”
“We raised money for this for eight years,” said Milissa Kilian, past president of Morinville’s Rotary Club chapter. The LAV III monument has a deeply personal connection to those in the Rotary Club, and live in the town. Jayson Wood, a veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, was the catalyst for bringing the military vehicle to Morinville.
“He joined our club after he approached us regarding the LAV,” said Kilian. “He wanted to do this as a tribute to someone who didn’t come home who he had served with.”
There are several LAV III monuments that have been erected across Canada. Instead of scrapping the decommissioned vehicles, a national push was made to have them preserved in various parts of the country. The Morinville LAV III monument held its grand opening the same day as another LAV III monument was unveiled in Conception Bay South, Nfld. There are four other vehicles on display in Alberta — in Fort McMurray, Lacombe, Calgary and Airdrie.
“There is one vehicle left, and that’s going to go to Winnipeg, the details of that still need to be worked out,” said Kilian. “But all of the rest of the vehicles have been spoken for. Every decommissioned vehicle that had been available is gone. We’re just happy to have one here. This community has a lot of ties to the garrison [CFB Edmonton].”