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Din of cannons marks Afghan commemoration

By: The Canadian Press

 | May 09, 2014 - 2:38 PM |
The cenotaph to the Canadians killed on the Afghan mission is seen at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, on Thursday, April 28, 2011. The cenotaph that once stood behind the Canadian headquarters in Kandahar will be reassembled and given a permanent home in Ottawa.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Colin Perkel

The cenotaph to the Canadians killed on the Afghan mission is seen at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, on Thursday, April 28, 2011. The cenotaph that once stood behind the Canadian headquarters in Kandahar will be reassembled and given a permanent home in Ottawa.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Colin Perkel

OTTAWA - A 21-gun salute echoed over Parliament Hill today as a ceremony to pay respects to the veterans and the dead of the long Afghanistan war got underway.

Gov. Gen. David Johnston, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, senior politicians, top military brass and thousands of onlookers are on hand on a damp day under a slate-grey sky.

The families of many of the 158 soldiers killed over the 12-year mission carried photos of their lost sons, daughters, brothers and sisters as the crowd bowed their heads for two minutes of silence.

A relay of wounded Afghan veterans travelled to Ottawa carrying a baton which held the last Canadian flag flown in Afghanistan.

The baton was handed to Harper, who then handed it over to Johnston, the formal commander-in-chief of the Forces.

A fly-past of aircraft to mark the occasion ignored the flashy CF-18 fighter jets usually seen on such occasions in favour of the helicopters and transports which were the mundane workhorses of the Afghan mission.

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