As a tribute to the thousands of members of the Royal Canadian Air Force who lost their lives in the Second World War, an elaborate memorial is being developed.
Spanning 91 metres and shaped like the wings on an airplane, the black granite wall will contain 19,000 names, etched in stone.
"It is a phenomenal project and there’s been hours and hours of planning that have gone into this already," said Reg Atkinson, memorial project fundraising chair.
The memorial project committee of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum began the ambitious project in 2010. The RCAF WWII Memorial will be located on the grounds of the museum. It will also pay tribute to Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and New Zealand Air Force personnel who lost their lives in or near Canada during this period.
Plans for the memorial also include a larger-than-life statue, representing the fallen.
"I think it will be a worldwide attraction, because it’s not just an ordinary cenotaph," Atkinson said, adding the project is one that is close to his heart.
"I had an uncle killed in the war … at 20 years old," he said.
"That’s one reason I was very interested in the project. I know how real it was in our family, having somebody involved like that."
The committee is currently fundraising for the project, which is estimated to cost $1.25 million.
"We’re hoping for contributions for this thing right across Canada," Atkinson said.
Organizers hope to call on municipal, provincial and federal governments as well as business and private sectors for funding.
Atkinson said it’s important to keep the memory alive of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
"Each generation, it kind of gets removed a little more," he said. "So I’m hoping something like this will trigger new thoughts, like when my grandsons come I will take them to show them this. I think quite often, we don’t know what to show our visitors … but particularly the next generation, I think they’ll be impressed by this."
The goal is to unveil the RCAF WWII Memorial in August 2014, in conjunction with events to mark the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War.
Visit airmuseum.ca for more information on the memorial.