This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, one of the most significant moments in our history and an important event in forging Canada’s national identity.
Though it was a significant military victory, it came at a high cost. The Canadians corps lost more than 3,500 troops, with another 7,000 wounded. April 9 was the worst day of losses for Canada in the war. We are all charged with ensuring these efforts will not be forgotten.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge marked the first time all Canadian divisions fought together, troops from all walks of life and all parts of the country. The Canadians were able to achieve a victory that British and French troops were not able to. Canada’s military achievement and sacrifice is marked with the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, a tribute to all who served their country in the First World War.
Locally there are many opportunities to observe the anniversary of Vimy Ridge. A special day of celebration is scheduled for Sunday, with a rededication ceremony for the plane monument in front of the St. Albert Legion at 9:30 a.m., followed by an open house at the legion with First World War displays and speakers.
CFB Edmonton and the Edmonton Garrison Military Family Resource Centre will commemorate the anniversary with a dinner and silent auction at the Edmonton Garrison Memorial Golf & Curling Club today (Saturday), featuring a historical presentation. Tickets for this event have already sold out.
St. Albert Catholic High’s Theatre Arts program will present the play Vimy at the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton from April 9 to 12, the same four days the battle took place.
Overseas at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, Sir George Simpson teacher Simon PagĂ© will be a part of the official Canadian delegation at the ceremony on Sunday. PagĂ© is serving as one of the two teacher escorts for the delegation’s youth brigade, which consists of 26 high school and university students from across Canada. There will also be other locals in attendance at the ceremony, among thousands from around the world.
Edmonton will also commemorate the victory at Vimy Ridge with a parade of Edmonton Regiments and Edmonton Police Service as well as vigil at the Edmonton Cenotaph and a reconstruction of Camp Vimy in Churchill Square.
There are many opportunities to commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge, all of which are opportunities to both learn and remember.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a defining moment for our country. For many, it was when Canada truly came together as a nation, with thousands sacrificing their lives to achieve an important victory.
In a year where we are also marking the 150th anniversary of Canada, let us not forget one of the most pivotal moments in our country’s history. We need to commemorate the success and the sacrifice and keep the memory of the Battle of Vimy Ridge alive.