Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

War sacrifice of Canadian soldiers praised

Nellie Chapman | 21 April, 2017, 19:12

Hundreds filled Veterans Square in downtown Cloverdale on Sunday morning to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Military boots symbolizing dead soldiers are seen at Canadian National Memorial in Vimy, France on Sunday.

On April 9, 1917, the Canadians succeeded in taking Vimy Ridge.

"I'm in my last two days of service, so I wanted to make sure I came here for Vimy and also to remember all the folks who are in uniform and served and made the ultimate sacrifice", Perrin said, holding onto his grandfather's service medals.

PARIS (AP) — More than 20,000 people, a lot of them Canadians, attended a solemn ceremony Sunday to commemorate a World War I battle in northern France that remains indelibly etched on Canada's national identity 100 years after it happened.

The commemorative ceremony at Vimy is being billed as a chance to mark what has come to be regarded as a seminal moment in Canada's history.

But what really set the battle apart was that, for the first time in the Great War, the Canadians would be fighting all together as one single unit: The Canadian Corps. "I went to Vimy Ridge and checked it out and I found his gravestone and took pictures". And we must believe it: "Never again".

As for unity, there are those who say Vimy actually exacerbated divisions between English-Canada, which supported the war, and French-Canada, which opposed it, by pushing the country closer to conscription. It's great to parade with them, commemorate with them. The Telegraph reports that they appeared in northern France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a World War I battle that became a key part of Canada's identity.

"They tell us what free peoples are capable of when the essential is at stake", he said in French.

The ceremony, hosted by the Canadian government, included recitations of stories from soldiers and eyewitnesses to the battle, and performances by Canadian singers such as Johnny Reid and Loreena McKennitt.

The centre of the poppy is formed by a newly-unveiled sculpture of pairs of soldiers' feet by New Zealand artist Helen Pollock.

"For others, Vimy represents Canada's transformation from a British colony to a country confident of its place in the world and worthy of other's respect â€" what some call its coming of age as a nation.

"It is our duty to remember and honour those who served so valiantly and who gave so much here at Vimy Ridge and throughout the First World War".