Ku­dos for stu­dent Vimy Pil­grim­age Award win­ners

The Compass - - OPINION - — Ju­lian Fantino is Canada’s min­is­ter of Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs

A new poll re­leased by the Vimy Foun­da­tion high­lights the im­por­tance of en­gag­ing young Cana­di­ans to re­mem­ber the defin­ing mo­ments in our na­tion’s his­tory.

The poll found, for ex­am­ple, that while the vast ma­jor­ity of us are aware of Canada’s bril­liant mil­i­tary vic­tory at Vimy Ridge, those num­bers start to drop off with younger Cana­di­ans.

That’s why I want to com­mend Zachary LeShane of Lower Is­land Cove and Vic­to­ria Jack­man of Mount Pearl for tak­ing up the chal­lenge to re­mem­ber and hon­our the ser­vice and sac­ri­fice of the 100,000 Cana­di­ans who cap­tured the strate­gic ridge at Vimy over four days in April 1917.

Vic­to­ria and Zachary were among 21 stu­dents selected by the Vimy Foun­da­tion to travel to France this month as part of its an­nual Vimy Pil­grim­age Award.

The award in­cludes a week-long tour of lo­cal bat­tle­fields and me­mo­ri­als as part of an ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram to raise aware­ness about Canada’s role in the First World War.

I had the plea­sure of meet­ing Zachary and Vic­to­ria at our in­ter­na­tional cer­e­mony at Vimy Ridge on April 9, which marked the 97th an­niver­sary of the bat­tle where the four di­vi­sions of the Cana­dian Corps fought side by side for the first time. The vic­tory is still viewed by many as Canada’s com­ing of age as a na­tion.

With stu­dents such as Vic­to­ria and Zachary proud to hon­our our past, we can be con­fi­dent that fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of Cana­di­ans will keep the torch of Re­mem­brance burn­ing brightly.

Con­grat­u­la­tions, Vic­to­ria and Zachary.

Photo cour­tesy of Vin­cent Hughes, stu­dent guide, win­ter 2014 ses­sion

Af­ter the April 9 cer­e­mony com­mem­o­rat­ing the 97th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Ar­ras at Vimy, France, Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs Min­is­ter Ju­lian Fantino was joined by Christo­pher Sweeney, pres­i­dent of the Vimy Foun­da­tion, guests, and the Cana­dian stu­dent win­ners of the 2014 Vimy Pil­grim­age Award. They un­veiled a sign in­di­cat­ing the fu­ture site of the vis­i­tor ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre. New­found­land and Labrador win­ners this year were Vic­to­ria Jack­man (sec­ond row, left) and Zachary LeShane (sec­ond row, fifth from right.)

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