Canadians attend memorials for Vimy Ridge centennial country-wide

by Steven Clarke April 10, 2017, 0:58

Cardinal, who is from the Saddle Lake First Nation in Alberta, said it's important to remember the contributions of indigenous soldiers, many of whom he said joined up to escape the despair of reserve life, earn steady pay or to honour the treaties by fighting for Canada.

"It was a bright spot in a war that had few of them", said Notley in a statement.

The tiny French town of Givenchy En-Gohelle - population 2,000 - has been covered in more than 500 Canadian flags to mark the sacrifice Canadians made during the battle.

Among them are members of Liberation Tours, based in Georgina, who took in the moving and stark image of rows upon row of empty boots placed on the Vimy memorial to represent the almost 3,600 who died in what is considered a seminal moment in Canadian history.

In his tribute to his countrymen who fought and died on Vimy Ridge Mr Trudeau told the thousands attending the ceremony in blazing spring sunshine: "But this monument is also symbolic of Canada's birth and our enduring commitment to peace".

The leaders of Canada and France are paying quiet homage to the thousands of soldiers who fought and died during the First World War.

"Canadian Armed Forces members are our best and bravest, but we know that the transition from military to civilian life can be challenging", said Jim Benninger, BC Liberal candidate in Courtenay-Comox.

It was neither decisive for the war's outcome "nor the most fundamental" of the battles fought by Canadians during the conflict, Boire said. Dozens of cadets stood guard at the tomb of the unknown solider overnight Saturday and lit one candle for every Canadian killed during the battle. A vast warren of tunnels dug by New Zealand forces was crucial to the victory at Vimy allowing the Canadians to take the German troops by surprise.

"It's going to be very overwhelming, in many respects", said Yukon Senator Dan Lang, one of three Canadian Senators selected to go to the event at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Canadian Divisions reported capturing their first objectives.

The Canadian-led victory at Vimy Ridge was not only due to the bravery of the men, with four Victoria Crosses being awarded, but detailed infantry training.

When he went overseas in late 1944 to serve with the Canadian Army during the Second World War, the sacrifice made at Vimy and other First World War battlefields and that made in the Second World War, was never far from his mind. That would come four months later, at Hill 70, when the Canadians fought under Currie.

Greg Cardinal was dressed as Lance Corporal Henry Northwest, a Metis soldier from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., who became one of the most accomplished snipers of the war with a record of 115 fatal shots.

Yet it is equally important for us to understand what we're remembering.

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