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Top soldier acknowledges handling of Afghan memorial 'hit a nerve;' vows access

The Maple Leaf flies at half-mast over the memorial to fallen soldiers at the Canadian task force headquarters at the Kandahar Airfield on Monday, June 15, 2009. Canada's top soldier acknowledges that last week's unveiling of the Kandahar memorial without the families of dead soldiers present hit a nerve. Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff, tells The Canadian Press no insult or disrespect was intended. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel

TORONTO — Canada’s top soldier acknowledges that last week’s unveiling of the Kandahar memorial without the families of dead soldiers present hit a nerve.

Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff, tells The Canadian Press no insult or disrespect was intended.

Decisions around the opening and severely restricted access to the site have come under attack from Afghan war veterans and families of those killed there.

Vance says he has asked his team to come up with plans to allow access to anyone who wants it.

He also says the fragile memorial needs to be inside, and the Department of National Defence headquarters in Ottawa was chosen as the best place.

In Vancouver, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today he is looking into the situation.

The Canadian Press