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Remembering Vimy Ridge, 95 Years Later

The Bread Guy

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This just out of the Government of Canada's Info-machine:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today launched the Vimy Foundation Pin Campaign which seeks to raise awareness of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, one of Canada’s most important military victories. The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Mr. David Houghton, President of the Vimy Foundation.

"With the passing of the last Canadian First World War Veteran in 2010, it is now more important than ever that we cherish and preserve stories of the service and sacrifice of our country’s fallen heroes," said Prime Minister Harper. “This pin reminds us of the brave and resilient servicemen who, on April 9, 1917, overcame the odds and captured Vimy Ridge.” 

The Vimy Pin was introduced in February 2009 by the Vimy Foundation which works to preserve and promote the legacy of Canada’s important contribution to the Allied victory in the First World War. It symbolizes Canada’s victory at Vimy and recognizes the important role this battle played in shaping Canada’s identity.

Vimy Ridge protected an area of occupied France where several factories and mines were in full production for Germany. Its height and strategic location also made it a key part of the German defensive lines. Attacking with all four of his divisions, the Commander of the Canadian Corps, Lieutenant-General Sir Julian Byng, was able to successfully execute a four staged operation which resulted in the capture of Vimy Ridge. The operation was an impressive victory, both as a military success at a difficult time on the Western Front and in enhancing Canada’s role among the Allied Powers in the First World War. The battle also marked the first time that all four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought together.

The Prime Minister also announced today that the Governor General, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, will travel to Vimy, France, on April 9, 2012, along with the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, to attend a special commemorative ceremony in the presence of 5000 Canadian youth marking the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

A commemorative ceremony is held every year on April 9 at the Vimy Memorial, which serves as a tribute to all those who fought during the battle of Vimy Ridge, and has come to symbolize Canada’s commitment to peace, freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

In addition to the ceremony taking place in Vimy, there will also be a vigil and ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, as well as a number of events in communities across the country.

More on the Vimy Foundation:
http://www.vimyfoundation.ca/

and the Vimy Pin Campaign:
http://www.vimyfoundation.ca/vimy-pin/
 

MKos

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Last summer my family and I did a 12 day tour of Europe, made sure my parents booked a tour of Vimy on the way to Paris. Honestly loved the memorial, its even more beautiful in person, to see the craftsmanship and awe you feel when you stand near it. It honestly lets you imagine run wild, and really inspired me to move forward in my ROTP application!

Any other thoughts or visitor experiences?
 
J

jollyjacktar

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My Great Uncle, Pte. Edward Maunsell, 10th Bn.  KIA 9 Apr 1917    :salute:  I would like to visit his grave one day.
 

Furniture

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I had the privilege of going to Vimy Ridge back in '99 with army cadets. It was inspiring to walk along the trench lines and through the tunnels that the troops had used 95 years ago today.

I can't imagine the courage to walk across open ground with artillery falling just ahead of you.... I've worked with gunners....  >:D
 

Steelheader

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I was privileged to visit the Vimy Memorial in the spring of 2001, when this happened: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2001/04/14/vimy010414.html , the region was evacuated due to decaying mustard gas shells. What a sobering thought it was, decades later, to be reminded of what those boys had lived with as a part of their service! Even when the park/memorial was re-opened to visitors, we weren't allowed in the tunnels below for fear of possible residual gas.

As the town was closed off, there was no lodging. My buddy and I slept in our rental car in one of the park's parking lots overnight, until the local police sent us packing. They warned us it wasn't safe due to local drug dealers and prostitutes using it as a secluded night spot to conduct business. I don't know how bad it was, or if it's been cleaned up since then, but it sure made our blood boil to hear that then. Imagine!

The bit about the parking lot served to remind us of the necessity to remember and share once we got back home; not to let it fall to those creeps. The evacuation brought to life a reality we hadn't ever considered as tourists, but was constant for the frontline soldiers. It was a heck of an experience.

Visiting Vimy was a very special privilege indeed.

 

Rheostatic

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Photos from today's ceremony at the Vimy Memorial: http://www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca/site/01/VIMY12/index-eng.asp
 

ModlrMike

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I had the honour of participating in the 90th anniversary and rededication ceremonies. Certainly a highlight of my career. My wife and I will be eager to visit France for the 100th.

Planning starts now.  :)
 

PuckChaser

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ModlrMike said:
I had the honour of participating in the 90th anniversary and rededication ceremonies. Certainly a highlight of my career. My wife and I will be eager to visit France for the 100th.

Planning starts now.  :)

I think I'm definitely going to try to get there for the 100th. Would be my first time there, and a perfect time to do it.
 

Robert0288

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PuckChaser said:
I think I'm definitely going to try to get there for the 100th. Would be my first time there, and a perfect time to do it.

I did the parade in Ottawa yesterday, but I've always wanted to go do a tour of France.  The 100th anniversary seems like a good time but hopefully I'll be able to get out there sooner ;D
 

daftandbarmy

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This book by Tim Cook, Shock Troops, contains about the best account of the battle I've ever read:

http://www.amazon.ca/Shock-Troops-Canadians-Fighting-1917-18/dp/0670067350

Reviewed here: http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/80655.0


 

ttlbmg

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I hadn't noticed this posted anywhere, and thought this would be the right topic to post it in:

http://www.globalnational.com/video/canadians+honour+vimy+ridge+vets/video.html?v=2239473835#stories

I thought that this was a great story in honor of Vimy's Ridge. What an amazing site to go to.
 
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