As this week is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, I thought that I would take this opportunity to share some of the battle’s historical background in defining its importance in Canadian history.
The battle of Vimy Ridge was an iconic military engagement which took place in the Pas-de-Calais region of France during the First World War.
Four divisions of Canadian combatants fought to take the area of Vimy against three divisions of the German Sixth Army. Canada won the assault but at a price; almost 3600 Canadian soldiers were killed in the battle.
Many historians mark Vimy not just as a significant battlefield victory but as a turning point in Canadian history. It was the first time that the four Canadian divisions, comprised of men from all regions of Canada, fought together united.
The soldiers’ taking of the heavily fortified German stronghold played a major role in the victory of the war and the Battle of Vimy Ridge was celebrated as one of Canada’s greatest military achievements. In 1922, the French Government built a memorial on the highest point of the Vimy Ridge and dedicated it to the memory of the Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the war.
The Vimy Pin was also created in more recent years as a way for Canadians to show their pride and honour the memory of our fallen World War 1 soldiers. With all proceeds going to the Vimy Foundation, the pin displays the two iconic columns of the Vimy Memorial with four vertical coloured bands, representing the four Canadian divisions involved in the battle.
I would like to take a moment to thank all of our Canadian men and women who proudly serve this country at risk to their own lives – the veterans and soldiers who have served in conflicts and wars around the globe. Thank you for your great service to this country and for all you do to keep us safe.
This April 9-12, I encourage all residents to take a moment of reflection to remember the sacrifices of our brave Canadian veterans. 100 years may have passed but our veterans will continue to live on in our hearts throughout history.