History

99th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

Flags will fly at half-staff and wreaths will be laid across the country on April 9 as Canada commemorates the 99th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

“Remembering this battle is particularly important to the Legion and its nearly 300,000 members. It is important because Canadians were able to do what no other Allied force could do at that time during First World War: Capture Vimy Ridge,” said Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion, Tom Eagles, in a press release.

The Legion announced that all Legion Branches will fly their Canadian Flags at half mast to commemorate the day. Several branches will also be holding commemorative ceremonies.

“Preparations are already under way to mark next year’s 100th anniversary, which will coincide with Canada’s 150th anniversary – a particularly fitting coincidence since many have suggested that it was following the Battle of Vimy Ridge that Canada truly became a nation,” mentioned Eagles.

To many, Vimy Ridge played an important role in not only shaping Canada’s military but the nation. The battle played a significant role in giving Canada the right to participate as an independent signatory at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

Located in northern France, Vimy Ridge was a strategic stretch of land captured early on by Germany and used as a defensive stronghold. British and French troops had attempted to regain control of the area several times over the years but were unsuccessful.

Canadians began moving to the front lines close to Vimy Ridge in 1916. They spent the entire winter preparing for the assault. The Battle of Vimy Ridge would be the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Corps worked together as a formation.

The Battle began on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, and in just a matter of days had gained a decisive victory in retaking Vimy Ridge. Canadians suffered 11,000 casualties.

To recognize the historic importance of this battle, the Federal Government declared April 9 as Vimy Ridge Day in 2003. It is the only battle that has been recognized as such by Parliament.

In honour of Vimy Ridge Day, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Kent Hehr, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Karen McCrimmon, will join various Canadian officials, officials from the French embassy, veterans, CAF members and cadets in a commemorative wreath-laying ceremony in Ottawa.

The ceremony will be held at Lebreton Flats Park on Saturday, April 9 at 10 a.m. The public is welcome to attend.

**Photo Credit ww1.canada.com/battlefront…**

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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