THUNDER BAY – It is a battle ground where Canada became a nation. Vimy Ridge is the site of a memorial to those brave soldiers who fought and died in the battle. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a military engagement fought primarily as part of the Battle of Arras, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, during the First World War. The main combatants were the Canadian Corps, of four divisions, against three divisions of the German Sixth Army. The battle, which took place from 9 to 12 April 1917, was part of the opening phase of the British-led Battle of Arras.
Canadian history records that it was a Vimy Ridge where Canada was forged as a nation.
The men and women who served their countries from the First World War to current missions were honoured by many Canadian and French citizens today at a ceremony at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. Representing the Government of Canada, His Excellency Marc Lortie, Ambassador of Canada to France, addressed the gathering on behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs.
He was joined by Mr. Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, Préfet of Pas-de-Calais, representing the French Republic.
“Veterans’ Week is a time when all Canadians come together to honour those who have sacrificed to make our world a safer place,” said Minister Blaney. “As the years pass, our first-hand connections to remarkable chapters in our history begin to fade. With this reality, our commitment to honour their memory grows only stronger. Generations of brave men and women stepped forward to defend a great cause—our peace and freedom. Their sacrifices and achievements are a sacred gift that we shall never forget.”
“Canada’s Veterans represent the values that Canada defends: freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. They are a source of pride that unites Canadians,” said Ambassador Lortie. “Today, 93 years after the Armistice that ended the First World War, we remember how important it is to keep the memory of that generation of extraordinary citizens alive, a generation that left its mark at Passchendaele, Beaumont-Hamel and Vimy, to name only a few of the historic sites where they demonstrated such tremendous courage and resolve.”
This year, during Veterans’ Week from November 5 to 11, make remembrance more than something you feel, make it something you do. Show how you remember by attending a Remembrance Day ceremony, visiting the local cenotaph or monument, sharing your thoughts of remembrance online, or wearing a poppy with pride. This Veterans’ Week, how will you remember? For information on Veterans’ Week, visit veterans.gc.ca, visit our “Canada Remembers” Facebook page to leave a message of remembrance or follow us on Twitter @VeteransENG_CA.
For more information on the Battle of Vimy Ridge visit www.wwii.ca