Frech city gives thanks to Canada at special Vimy Ridge poppy ceremony

Apr 10, 2017, 01:01

"2017 is a special year of commemoration for Canada as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation and we remember the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele".

"Today, as people on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean gather to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, there will be hard memories of loss and of suffering, but also memories of many heroic acts of bravery and of sacrifice on the part of those who served".

There was also a clear effort to include Canada's indigenous people, who played a significant role in the First World War.

"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. This is one where we have to remember.

Others are former or current military members for whom the event holds great significance.

There will be services at numerous city's legions on Sunday as well as the Military Museums.

"There's a sense of accomplishment of what we did".

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It was the first time that four military divisions from Canada fought together as the Canadian Corps.

The president said: "Those that fought at Vimy tell us that nationalism only leads to war and that fundamentalism only leads to destruction".

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna opened a sombre one-hour remembrance at the National War Memorial under clear blue skies.

Three wreaths were laid on behalf of the lives lost, including one by Jackie and Rodney Wills, whose great uncle Duncan Smith of Lavington died at Vimy just before the Canadian assault.

Those who herald the importance of Vimy acknowledge all this, but say it is what Vimy has come to represent over the years and decades that matters. -Gen. Sir David Watson. The Canadian Corps used several tactics to succeed, including digging long tunnels to the front and following behind an artillery barrage that would keep the German soldiers away from their machine guns, Cook writes. "Countries are not like people - they are not born at a particular time either by signing a piece of paper or fighting a war". It's a tradition that was repeated in the Second World War and other conflicts. Sixty-six thousand dead. A country that had stepped up.

"It almost tore the country [apart]", he said. "We're never the same after the First World War". "They have not only contributed greatly to the peace and security of our country but indeed to the peace and security of nations near and far beyond our borders". "Our troops performed with distinction - capturing most German positions and taking high points on the ridge", Wilson said in an email.

"Even though you can deconstruct it, it's become that".