OTTAWA, July 24, 2017 /CNW/ - The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Menin Gate Memorial:
"In the spring of 1915, the Great War was ravaging through Belgium. Over 2,000 Canadians would be killed and more than 4,000 injured during the battle for control of the town of Ypres (Ieper in Flemish) in Western Belgium. This battle also marked the horror of the first major gas attacks against Allied soldiers.
"Today, we join in marking the 90th anniversary of the Menin Gate Memorial, which was unveiled in 1927, ten years after the fighting ended. It features the names of nearly 55,000 Commonwealth soldiers killed in Belgium who have no known grave, including the names of 6,940 Canadians. The memorial is inscribed as follows: 'Here are recorded names of officers and men who fell in Ypres Salient but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.'
"For nearly 90 years, a ceremony has been held every evening to commemorate the sacrifices that were made in Belgium during the First World War. At 8:00 every night, the traffic through the gateway has been stopped and buglers have performed Last Post. When the Belgians were prevented from holding the ceremony during the German Occupation in the Second World War, they did so instead at a cemetery in the U.K.
"On this occasion, we remember those who fought with courage to liberate Belgium during the First World War. We offer our thanks to the citizens of Ypres who have dutifully honoured these fallen soldiers for nearly a century. These ceremonies are held without obligation, out of respect for those who laid down their lives for freedom. On either side of the Atlantic, the courage of our Canadian heroes will never be forgotten."
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468, [email protected]; Media Relations, Department of National Defence, Phone: 613-996-2353, Toll-Free: 1-866-377-0811, Email: [email protected]