It has been 102 years since the battle that defined Canada as a nation.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was the first time that the four divisions of the Canadian Military fought together. The four divisions battled to overtake Vimy Ridge from the German army in efforts to both claim land and divert German attention away from the French.
The battle lasted four days where Canadian soldiers laid down their lives for freedom. In four days, the troops claimed Vimy Ridge.
Today, we remember the sacrifices of the Canadian soldiers.
Alan Hunter, Service Officer with Veterans Across Canada, said that this battle was extremely important not just for the war effort, but for Canada as a nation.
"I think the main thing is that a young nation like Canada stepped to the forefront and did things that no other nation could do. We became a nation. We sent our sons, and in cases with nurses and whatnot, our sons and daughters onto the battlefield and we came home broken, we came home weary but we were not beaten. From that, we've become a nation and we've become a nation that is the envy of the world."
The sacrifice of Canada was not small in any way and Canadian troops littered the battlefield.
"Lives lost. Lives lost and lives changed forever from the dead that have never come home that are scattered all over the battlefield to the ones that came home that were broken mentally and physically. It's had repercussions to every battle we've had since then."
Hunter said that because of the battle, Canada became a nation recognized throughout the world.
"A little upstart nation that wasn't big, but we put some of the toughest, most courageous people out onto the battlefield and it really showed the world that this is a young and growing nation that is a force to be reckoned with. That's proved the true right to this day."
The battle may have ended 102 years ago, but men and women are still fighting for freedom across seas.
"Freedom. There is a price for freedom, there is a cost for freedom. It's absolutely huge. It results in lives being lost, in lives being altered and changed. We've got soldiers on the battlefield today, men and women right now that are putting their lives in harm's way. We need never, ever to forget that there is a huge price for freedom and those are the folks that pay it as we sit home and enjoy."
Hunter reminded everyone to thank veterans for their sacrifice.
"The next time you see a Canadian soldier, thank them and have a conversation with them. Let them tell you the stories of generation upon generation of soldiers that have put their lives on the line and are buried in far-away lands so that we can have the freedoms here that we take for granted."
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