Mother of Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan reflects on daughter's sacrifice
This Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Less than a month after the attacks in 2001, the United States and NATO forces embarked on a war in Afghanistan against al Qaeda, the perpetrators of the attacks, as well as their Taliban allies.
Between 2001 and 2014, more than 40,000 Canadian soldiers were deployed to the country and 158 were killed.
Capt. Nichola Goddard was one of those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. In 2006, her light armoured vehicle was hit by a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade and she became the 16th Canadian as well as the highest-ranking Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan at the time.
Her mother, Sally Goddard, sat down with CTV's Your Morning to reflect on the last 15 years.
"There's not a day goes past that we don't remember her, and different things remind us of her all the time," Sally said from her home in Charlottetown on Friday.
"She was somebody who could always make me laugh. And I think that's what I remember the most."
Up until 2011, Canadians had a combat role in Afghanistan before shifting their focus to conducting training for the Afghan military.
"We thought originally that it was going to be more of the United Nations peacekeeping kind of operation. And when we talked to her about that she said, 'No, you don't understand. We're making the peace so others can keep it,’" said Sally.
The last Canadian troops left Afghanistan in 2014. The U.S. completed its troop withdrawal at the end of August, just after the Taliban swept across the country and assumed power once again.
"I think (Nichola) would be tremendously disappointed with what's happened. I know it's been difficult for everyone to try and deal with, but we need to do as much as we can to get as many people out who helped the Canadians," said Sally.
Capt. Goddard's legacy continues to live on. The Canadian Coast Guard ship Captain Goddard M.S.M as well as Captain Nichola Goddard School in Calgary were named in her honour in 2014. Sally and her husband also started the Nichola Goddard Foundation, which raises money to support women in the military and female veterans.
"Her legacy piece has meant that her death has not been without purpose," said Sally. "I hope Nichola would be proud of what we've done."