Big Val­ley Bul­letin

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Linda Still­inger 403-876-2479 l.still­

At a cer­e­mony held at the Big Val­ley Ceno­taph last Sun­day, Apr. 9, the Big Val­ley Le­gion and mem­bers of our com­mu­nity gath­ered to mark the 100th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Vimy Ridge. Lo­cated in our beau­ti­fully treed Me­mo­rial Park about 1/2 block from the Big Val­ley Le­gion, the Big Val­ley Ceno­taph was con­structed in 1925 to hon­our all those who laid down their lives in war.

Over the sound of flut­ter­ing flags, the Last Post was car­ried out be­fore the lay­ing of a me­mo­rial wreath and the singing of our Na­tional An­them. A short speech il­lu­mi­nated the sig­nif­i­cance of the bat­tle, de­scrib­ing the Cana­dian vic­tory at Vimy Ridge as a defin­ing mo­ment for our coun­try, help­ing to form Canada into the coun­try it would be­come. This cam­paign would be the first time all four di­vi­sions of the Cana­dian Ex­pe­di­tionary Force fought to­gether in a bat­tle that would leave over 3500 Cana­di­ans dead and an­other 7000 wounded.

The names etched on our Ceno­taph display the strong rep­re­sen­ta­tion from this com­mu­nity and the fam­ily names are very fa­mil­iar to most of us who live here. A search through nu­mer­ous ar­chives re­veal­ing at least one Big Val­ley sol­dier who was killed by en­emy shell fire dur­ing the ad­vance at Vimy Ridge and an­other buried at the Vimy Me­mo­rial, some­how brought the war’s costs that much closer to home. We have to thank our Le­gion mem­bers for re­mind­ing us of the sac­ri­fices Cana­di­ans from ev­ery part of this coun­try have made for our lib­erty.

The First World War is rec­og­nized as the blood­i­est con­flict in Cana­dian his­tory. Ac­cord­ing to Veter­ans Af­fairs Canada, ap­prox­i­mately 650,000 Cana­di­ans served in WW1, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the Cana­dian Ex­pe­di­tionary Force, Cana­di­ans and New­found­lan­ders who served with Bri­tish forces and mer­chant mariners; a re­mark­able con­tri­bu­tion for a coun­try with a to­tal pop­u­la­tion of only 8 mil­lion. Though the ex­act num­ber of ca­su­al­ties is still un­cer­tain, an es­ti­mated 1 out of ev­ery 10 who went to fight in the “Great War” gave their lives and more than 172,000 were maimed ei­ther men­tally or phys­i­cally.

We must re­mem­ber them all.

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