Camp Mirage Memorial
About Camp Mirage
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) began operating out of Camp Mirage (at the Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates) in December 2001 with reconnaissance and surveillance missions in support of Operation Apollo—the CAF support to the military operations in Afghanistan. On November 3, 2010, Camp Mirage officially closed during a ceremony that marked the end of nearly nine years of operations.
In June 2006, a plan was put in place to construct a cenotaph to honour the memory of the fallen from the Afghanistan mission—brass plates showing the name of each fallen soldier, the crest of the unit they belonged to and the date they died. These plates would be attached to a pyramid-like structure, with a spotlight installed inside and shining upward.
As the number of fallen increased, new structures were added to the memorial in 2007. With the additions came the bas-relief “Fallen” donated by Toronto artist Silvia Pecota. Bronze cast, with green patina, the sculpture illustrates a guardian angel.
At its original location, the cenotaph was placed outside on a concrete platform surrounded by a perimeter of grass and stone tiles. The granite slabs, the name plates and the bronze cast were shipped back to Canada, but the concrete structures remained behind. The Canadian climate, so different from the constant dry environment and high temperatures in the Middle East, required an indoor location. This three-part granite structure bearing plaques commemorating the Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan now rests in the National Air Force Museum of Canada at CFB Trenton, in Ontario.
The cenotaph was a landmark at Camp Mirage. This was noted during the cenotaph departure ceremony by Lieutenant-Colonel Tom Dunne, the camp commander:
"Nearly every soldier, sailor, airman and airwoman that has worked in support of this mission has walked this path and laid eyes on this monument. It will return to glorify them on our native soil."
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