Published: Mon, April 10, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Vimy Ridge Centenary: Trudeau, Hollande Honour Those Who Fought WWI Battle

Hundreds of citizens from this French city have turned out in a heartfelt display of thanks to Canada and the thousands of Canadian soldiers who fought and died at nearby Vimy Ridge exactly a century ago. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP) A veteran holds a torch of remembrance during a vigil at the National War Memorial to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in Ottawa, Ontario, Saturday, April 8, 2017.

Vimy Ridge was an engagement during the Battle Of Arras itself, which lasted from 9 April to 16 May 1917 and claimed 18,000 Scottish lives - the highest concentration of Scots involved in any WW1 campaign.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will lead the commemorations today for the 100 anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France, considered a founding moment in his nation's history.

A total of 3,600 Canadian troops were killed and 7,000 wounded in three days of fighting against German forces.

Charles told thousands of Canadians gathered along with France's president Francois Hollande and other dignitaries that: "The long shadows of the thousands who fell here still touch us today".

The World War I battle was a costly victory for Canada, but one that helped shape the former British colony's national identity.

Two years later, Canada was one of the signatories to the Treaty of Versailles, formally ending the war.

Men from all backgrounds and places, but all of them proudly wearing the "Canada" shoulder badge that separated them from the millions of other soldiers on the Western Front. And we must believe it: "Never again".

The ceremony was held at the grand war memorial that marks the site of the battle and is a revered national symbol, is on the back of Canada's $20 bill to this day. "Let's renew our commitment to remember their heroism in the face of suffering and fear". Yes, Vimy's soldiers are telling us nationalism only leads to war and fundamentalism to destruction.

"Nobody leaves their home country unless they are persecuted or they can't make a go of it", Cherry said.

The government of Canada is hosted the ceremony, which will speeches from officials and performances by famous Canadian artists, including singer Loreena McKennitt.

A giant poppy made up of messages of love and gratitude was unveiled at Heroes Square in the town of Arras where Hollande and Trudeau wrote their own notes and placed them among others.

Cherry got emotional as he looked at the pictures on his wall from 100 years ago, at the Canadians in the Great War, including some his grandfather, Pte.

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