Winnipeg veterans march to remember Vimy Ridge on 100th anniversary


Hundreds filled Veterans Square in downtown Cloverdale on Sunday morning to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

The battle, which started on April 9, 1917, was one of the defining moments of World War I and a founding moment in Canada's history as Canadian troops fought under Canadian command for the first time. And as was mentioned at the parade, we know that Vimy wasn't just a Canadian battle, it was a battle of the British Armed Forces.

Representatives of France, Canada and the United Kingdom are among some 25,000 people expected to attend a memorial event on Sunday (April 9).

Men from all backgrounds and places, but all of them proudly wearing the "Canada" shoulder badge that separated them from the millions of other soldiers on the Western Front. The victory solidified Canada's reputation, but was not without great cost, as it saw more than 10,000 Canadian casualties, including the deaths of 31 P.E.I. soldiers.

Vimy Ridge was an engagement during the Battle Of Arras itself, which lasted from 9 April to 16 May 1917 and claimed 18,000 Scottish lives - the highest concentration of Scots involved in any WW1 campaign.

In bright spring sunshine, the crowd at the memorial site was a sea of red t-shirts, many of them showing the Canadian flag. I can say without hesitation that Manitobans have never forgotten, and we will never forget, the sacrifice made by our courageous men and women in uniform. "Let's renew our commitment to remember their heroism in the face of suffering and fear".

As for unity, there are those who say Vimy actually exacerbated divisions between English-Canada, which supported the war, and French-Canada, which opposed it, by pushing the country closer to conscription.

The palace documented the ceremony on their official Instagram page.

The sacrifice of First World War Canadian soldiers who helped forge peace in Europe and a national identity for their country has been praised by world leaders.

Earlier Sunday, Trudeau and Hollande unveiled a separate "Poppy of Peace" monument in the town of Arras, a few kilometers (miles) from Vimy.

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

To protect soldiers from shelling, they built miles of tunnels one of the war's great engineering feats allowing troops to pop up quickly into their positions.