More than twenty thousand visitors attended the ceremony at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial
VIMY, France, April 9, 2017 /CNW/ - Today, at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, a ceremony was held to honour the sacrifices made 100 years ago during the First World War at Vimy Ridge. The ceremony was a moving artistic performance by well-known Canadian actors and musicians in the presence of dignitaries, Veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 10,000 Canadian youth, Indigenous Peoples, descendants of those who fought in the First World War and the public.
A number of dignitaries from Canada and Europe attended the ceremony. They included, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry; His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada; the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; Mr. François Hollande, President of the French Republic; the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence; and the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, along with Veterans, representatives of Canadian Veterans' organizations and Canadian youth.
By the end of the First World War, Canada—a country of fewer than eight million people—had more than 650,000 men and women serving in uniform. On April 9, 1917, during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought side by side for the first time and won an impressive victory. Many have suggested that this great triumph marked a "coming of age" for our still-young country.
Close to 3,600 Canadians were killed during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The Canadian National Vimy Memorial serves as a lasting tribute to the memory and sacrifice of our service members who died in the war, including the 11,285 Canadians who lost their lives in France and have no known graves.
Commemorative events were also held across Canada, including at the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa.
"The victory at Vimy Ridge earned a young Canada a place on the international stage. Today, we honour and remember the thousands of Canadians who gave their lives at Vimy Ridge. They represented every region of Canada and fought for the values we hold so dear—freedom, democracy and peace. Their sacrifices left an indelible mark on our history, and spurred the emergence of a Canadian national consciousness. We must never forget their service and sacrifice."
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
"Today we pay respect to those who fought and fell at Vimy Ridge and remember the price they paid so that we would have a better tomorrow. It is truly an honour to be here to recognize the more than 650,000 brave Canadians who served in the First World War and commemorate our proud history.
We must remain committed to continue to tell their stories so those who fought here are never forgotten."
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
"The battle of Vimy Ridge was a pivotal moment for our military and for our country. As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of this historic battle, we honour our brave soldiers' sacrifices, and are reminded that our women and men in uniform today carry on their legacy and dedication."
The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
- Victory in the Battle of Vimy Ridge came at a great cost. Of the 100,000 members of the Canadian Corps who served in the battle, approximately 3,600 lost their lives and over 7,000 more were wounded.
- The Canadian National Vimy Memorial, which overlooks the Douai Plain from the highest point of Vimy Ridge, about ten kilometres north of Arras, is Canada's most impressive tribute overseas to every Canadian who fought and gave their lives in the First World War.
- More than 650,000 Canadians would serve in uniform by the end of the First World War. The conflict took a huge toll: more than 66,000 Canadians lost their lives and 170,000 were wounded.
- On April 3, 2003, the Government of Canada designated April 9 of each year as a national day of remembrance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
- The new Visitor Education Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial opened April 8, 2017, as part of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.
- 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge
- Canadian National Vimy Memorial
- Visitor Education Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial
Photo and Video
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468, [email protected]