Today marks the 99th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has marked the occasion with a statement that starts off: “The battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War was a moment that defined our nation.”
It was a three-day battle during World War I from April 9-April 12 1917. Four divisions of Canadian troops fought under the command of General Sir Arthur Currie against the German Sixth Army. It’s believed this is the first time that all Canadian troops fought together under a Canadian commander. Previously they had only fought under the British Empire
“As Brigadier-General Alexander later said of Canada’s accomplishments at Vimy, ‘I witnessed the birth of a nation,'” Trudeau described in his statement. This is the battle that is said to have contributed to Canada’s nationhood.
The Canadians suffered approximately 2600 deaths, and 7,000 were wounded. “On this day, let us thank those who have sacrificed- and those who continue to sacrifice-on behalf of our country so that we can enjoy the peace and freedoms we have today,” Trudeau concluded.
Vimy Ridge Day was first proclaimed by the Canadian government in 2003. Each year the flag on the Peace Tower is lowered to half-mast to commemorate the occasion.