Today marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France. Many historians and writers consider the battle a defining moment for Canada.
The Canadian Corps was ordered to seize Vimy Ridge in April 1917. The operation was a stunning success, but it was a victory with a terrble cost, with more than 10,000 killed and wounded.
The capture of Vimy was more than just an important battlefield victory. For the first time all four Canadian divisions attacked together: men from all regions of Canada were present at the battle. Brigadier-General A.E. Ross declared after the war, “in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation.”
The gleaming white marble and haunting sculptures of the Vimy Memorial, unveiled in 1936, stand as a terrible and poignant reminder of the 11,285 Canadian soldiers killed in France who have no known graves.
Photo source: veterans.gc.ca