National Post



“Hundreds of thousands of Canadians crossed the cold, grey Atlantic to take a stand against tyranny and oppression. They left behind everything they knew to face a struggle they could not have imagined.

Today it is hard to believe possible the horrors that unfolded here on the 9th of April, 1917. This was a battlefiel­d of corpses. The terrifying roar of massed artillery filled the air. As one Canadian brigade signalling officer wrote, “Imagine the loudest clap of thunder you ever heard, multiplied by two, and prolonged indefinite­ly.” Bootdeep mud rendered each step a struggle, amidst the deadly relentless hail of bullets.

“The events of that day saw the four divisions of the Canadian Corps serving together for the first time. They fought bravely and with great ingenuity. They succeeded in seizing the vital high ground of Vimy, a task in which many others before them had failed.

“However victory came at an unbearably heavy cost. This was and remains the single bloodiest day in Canadian military history. Yet Canadians displayed a strength of character and commitment to one another that is still evident today. They did not waver. This was Canada at its best. The Canadians at Vimy embodied the true north, strong and free. Let us never forget.” Prince Charles

“They were, most of them, young men in their l ate teens, in their early 20s. Going as far as sacrificin­g their lives, these men both ordinary and extraordin­ary of the British dominion fought for the first time as citizens of a single and same country ... In this sense, Canada was born there ...

“As I see the faces gathered here — veterans, soldiers, caregivers, so many young people — I can’ t help but feel a torch is being passed. One hundred years later, we must say this, together. And we must believe it: Never again.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Vimy’s soldiers “are still speaking to us. They are telling us peace is the most precious gift and it’s the greatest merit of Europe to have realized that dream ... Yes, Vimy’s soldiers are telling us nationalis­m only leads to war, and fundamenta­lism to destructio­n. They are telling us the future of our countries is to be united.” François Hollande, President of France

“On this day a century ago, thousands of Canadian soldiers stood far from home together with their allies in defence of peace and freedom. They fought courageous­ly and with great ingenuity in winning the strategic high point of Vimy Ridge, though victory came at a heavy cost. ... It is our duty to remember and honour those who served so valiantly and who gave so much here at Vimy Ridge and throughout the First World War.” Queen Elizabeth

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