Canadian and French Leaders Pay Homage to Fallen Soldiers at Vimy Ridge


While Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau told the around 25,000 attending the ceremony that "the monument is also symbolic of Canada's birth and our enduring commitment to peace".

Servicemen wear poppies as they attend a ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge at the Canadian National Memorial in Vimy, France on Sunday.

(Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP) Sentries stand guard at the National War Memorial during a vigil to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in Ottawa, ontario, Saturday, April 8, 2017.

"The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a turning point in the First World War and for Canada, when Canadians acted -- and fought -- as one", Trudeau said ahead of the commemorations. "Their Royal Highnesses were joined by the Governor General of Canada, the President of France François Hollande and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau", the caption read.

Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry were given a guided tour of the trenches in northern France, where Canadian troops, under British command, fought the German military.

Even then, it would be another 19 years, when the iconic Canadian National Vimy Memorial was unveiled in 1936, before the battle would start to become an important part of Canada's national identity.

"Despite these losses, Canadian bravery and ingenuity won the day and led to one of the most decisive victories in the First World War".

"We commemorate and thank those who gave of their lives, so that we can preserve the freedom of today", said Saracino. Three thousand, five hundred and ninety-eight Canadians were killed in the fighting. In total, 3,598 Canadians died and another 7,004 were wounded.

Trudeau is scheduled to visit Juno Beach on Monday, where he will mark Canada's contributions during the Second World War.

Clark said the battle came at a bad cost to Canadians with more than 10,000 soldiers killed and wounded in horrific conditions.

Canadian troops prepared carefully, learning from the mistakes made by British and French troops that had tried and failed to reclaim the ridge.

"These trees are direct descendants of acorns collected following the battle, and they will be planted in a circular pattern four deep to represent the four divisions".

Prince William and his brother Harry laid boots on the memorial in memory of the fallen soldiers.