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Air Force Memorial-Saskatchewan

The Air Force Memorial-Saskatchewan is dedicated to the memory of the thousands of airmen and airwomen from the province, the nation and their allies, who sacrificed their lives in defence of peace and freedom throughout the world. Planning for the memorial commenced in mid-2002, when it was decided to replace and relocate a memorial cairn previously erected at 15 Wing, Moose Jaw. The Office of Air Force History and Heritage, 15 Wing, Moose Jaw, in consultation with the Air Force Association of Canada, decided that a general tribute to the Air Force in the form of a monument should be constructed as its replacement, and that it should also be located at 15 Wing, Moose Jaw, the last remaining active Air Force base within the province of Saskatchewan. The previous monument stood on the southwest corner of the intersection of NATO Avenue and Rideau Street on 15 Wing, adjacent to the main intersection. At the northeast corner of the memorial site is a pedestal-mounted North American Harvard Mark IV single-engine training aircraft, representing Saskatchewan’s legacy as the home of military pilot training. The design of the memorial represents the “walls” that still exist to peace and freedom for people throughout the world today, while honouring the courage of all airmen and airwomen who have defended democratic values.

Construction of phase one of the memorial commenced in the fall of 2002 and saw the erection of three freestanding monoliths, which form the central aspect of the memorial. Open to the elements, these monoliths reach skywards and are meant to symbolize the words of the poem “High Flight,” by Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee of the Royal Canadian Air Force; the brass plaques from the original 15 Wing memorial cairn have been placed upon them. Phase two of the project will see the construction of a “distressed” masonry wall, divided into two distinct wrap-around elements, half-enclosing the memorial site and physically separating it from the surrounding area. This wall, symbolic of destroyed homes and buildings throughout the world, reminds us all of the stark reality of war. The pathway situated directly in front symbolizes the journey taken by countless airmen and airwomen from their homes to battlefields around the globe in defence of peace and freedom. Phase three will see the installation of benches along the pathway; these will be oriented to face the wall, offering guests an opportunity for quiet reflection or for remembering a loved one, a squadron, or a unit.

Jeff R. Noel

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