Canadian and French Leaders Pay Homage to Fallen Soldiers at Vimy Ridge

Residents gathered in Langford's Veterans Memorial Park to pay tribute to Canadians and others who lost their lives at Vimy Ridge, starting 100 years ago Sunday.

Rev. Tom Hamilton said thousands of Canadian soldiers waited silently in the trenches and tunnels beneath Vimy Ridge just before dawn on Easter Monday of April 9, 1917.

Today we mark the 100th anniversary of a battle that occurred during one of the bloodiest wars in the history of the world - a battle that turned the world's attention to Canada.

"Canada, when they took that ridge, took it in four days", he explains.

With all of those who fought not only at Vimy, but the Great War, now gone, it fell to other ways to remember them and their stories.

CP put the resources of its entire globe-spanning freight and travel system at the disposal of the British Empire and allies at the outset of the war, contributing not only tracks and trains, but its ships, yards, shops, hotels, telegraph lines and - above all else - its people.

James Cockriell's great-uncle Joseph was one of the soldiers who fought at Vimy and was killed on the last day of the battle.

The battle and victory have become an important part of Canada's national identity, symbolizing the shift from a former British colony to an independent nation. Their sacrifices left an indelible mark on our history, and spurred the emergence of a Canadian national consciousness.




"As we honour such great bravery and sacrifice, we should honour the fearless men and women of the Canadian Forces, who risk their lives to carry on this proud tradition of service - and keep us all safe". "Let's renew our commitment to remember their heroism in the face of suffering and fear".

The battle is noteworthy for a number of reasons, including it being the first time all four Canadian divisions fought together during the First World War.

The palace documented the ceremony on their official Instagram page.

Trudeau and French President Francois Hollande unveiled a separate "Poppy of Peace" monument on Sunday morning in the town of Arras, a few kilometers from Vimy.

"Many historians and writers consider the Canadian victory at Vimy a defining moment for Canada, when the country emerged from under the shadow of Britain and felt capable of greatness", he said.

They've been in the country since Thursday, visiting historic sites from the First World War.

The cemetery is the final resting place for thousands of soldiers from the Great War, including 700 Canadians.

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