Government of Canada delegation traveling to Belgium to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele
OTTAWA, Nov. 6, 2017 /CNW/ - Veterans' Week, observed annually from November 5 to 11, is a time for Canadians to unite and recognize the bravery and sacrifices made by generations of men and women in uniform. In 2017, it is also an occasion to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, where victory came at great cost.
Today, Sherry Romanado, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, joined by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, and, hosted Canadian youth and delegates in Ottawa. The event provided an opportunity to launch Veterans' Week, to observe the centennial anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele and to interact with Canadian youth.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele. To commemorate Canadians' contributions to this historic battle, Parliamentary Secretary Romanado is leading the official Government of Canada delegation to Belgium. The delegation will depart Ottawa on November 7, 2017.
During the event, dignitaries and participants were invited to write a message of remembrance to form part of an original sculpture, created by Kitchener-based blacksmith Sandra Dunn, which will travel to Belgium to be part of events marking the Passchendaele centennial.
The Parliamentary Secretary conveyed an important message on remembrance to the youth in attendance. They are the ones who will ensure that future generations never forget the bravery and sacrifice of all who served and that the values for which Canadians fought live on.
Through the continued support of Encounters with Canada, five youth were selected to join the official delegation: Teghan Angulalik from Nunavut, Gérémy Côté from Quebec, Ben Jamieson from New Brunswick, Kiera Wortley from Manitoba and Madison Barrow from Newfoundland and Labrador. Each youth has unique ties to the First World War, including two with direct ties to the Battle of Passchendaele: Madison's great-great-grandfather served and was wounded in Passchendaele. Left for dead in a trench, he was fortunate to have been noticed by a fellow soldier and taken to a hospital for treatment. Kiera is connected to two of the founding members of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
"As we observe Veterans' Week and mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, it is time to remember those who gave so much. The Government of Canada delegation that is about to embark on this journey overseas will represent us in ceremonies and commemorative events and visit war cemeteries, battlefields and memorials. The knowledge and memories they bring back will help ensure that those who gave so much are not forgotten by future generations. They will help ensure Canada remembers."
The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
"I am honoured to lead this delegation to Belgium so that Canada can pay tribute to those who served and to those who made the ultimate sacrifice 100 years ago. To have the chance to walk on the same hallowed ground in Passchendaele with proud Veterans from the same Canadian Corps regiments who fought there a century ago will be an experience I will remember forever."
Sherry Romanado, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
- Each year, Canadians recognize November 5 to11 as Veterans' Week. In 2017, hundreds of commemorative and educational events will take place in communities and schools across Canada. Veterans' Week concludes on Remembrance Day with national and local commemorative ceremonies.
- More than 650,000 Canadians answered the call of duty 100 years ago during the First World War, and over 100,000 of them took part in the Battle of Passchendaele. It was a treacherous battle that took great bravery and resulted in a hard-won victory, but more than 4,000 Canadian soldiers died, and nearly 12,000 more were wounded.
- The Allies launched the campaign on July 31, 1917, to capture strategic railroads and ports that the Germans were using in occupied Belgium, as well as to relieve pressure on French forces farther to the south. Canadian soldiers went on the attack at Passchendaele on October 26, 1917, after being sent there to relieve the battered Australian and New Zealander forces that had been fighting since the summer.
- On November 6, the village of Passchendaele fell to the 27th (City of Winnipeg) Battalion and on November 10, the Canadian Corps cleared enemy defenders from the eastern edge of Passchendaele Ridge in the final actions of the long, arduous battle.
- Fighting slowly but steadily forward through the mud, Canadians displayed great bravery, with nine of our soldiers earning the Victoria Cross.
- The success of the Canadian Corps at Passchendaele reinforced its reputation as an elite offensive fighting force on the Western Front, and it was no accident that it would be at the forefront of the Allied advance that led to victory a year later.
- The 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele coincides with Canada 150—a pivotal milestone for Canada to connect with our past, celebrate who we are, honour our exceptional achievements and build a legacy for tomorrow.
- Canada Remembers – Official Veterans' Week webpage
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468, [email protected]; Alex Wellstead, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649