Canada commemorates centenary of pivotal Vimy WWI battle

Posted April 18, 2017

An image from the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France is projected onto the National War Memorial as sentries stand guard during a vigil to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid tribute to those who fought.

The battle is fundamental in the history of Canada as on a snow-swept French hillside four military divisions from the nation attacked together for the first time as the Canadian Corps, and their bravery in breaking German defences earned them the respect of the world.

"We fought other battles where the moral and material results were greater and more far reaching than Vimy's victory", Canada's greatest First World War general, Sir Arthur Curry, said in April 1922.

On April 9, 2017, the community came together to remember the sacrifice of those that fought at Vimy Ridge. Canada's military achievements during the war raised our country's global stature and helped earn Canada a signature of its own, separate from England, on the Treaty of Versailles that formally ended the war.

"They are going with the idea that they may not survive and it takes somebody with a different mindset to do that", said Sgt. (Ret.d) John Bertram.

"I salute the thousands of Canadians and CP railroaders who served then and the many men and women of CP who serve their country still", said CP president and CEO Keith Creel. I can say without hesitation that Manitobans have never forgotten, and we will never forget, the sacrifice made by our courageous men and women in uniform.

Trudeau will be joined at the ceremony by French President Francois Hollande and Britain's Prince Charles and his sons Princes William and Harry. That was Ypres, Belgium, until the British built their national memorial there. 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.

Earlier Sunday, Trudeau and Hollande unveiled a separate "Poppy of Peace" monument in the town of Arras, a few kilometers (miles) from Vimy.

For many soldiers, Halifax Harbour was the last place their feet would touch Canadian soil, as they would lose their lives in Europe.

Trudeau is scheduled to visit Juno Beach on Monday, where he will mark Canada's contributions during the Second World War.