Leaside High school history teacher Caralin Fleet accompanied some of her students to the Vimy 100th memorial celebration on April 9. Here are some of their thoughts:
Since there are no remaining soldiers from the First World War, it so important that Canadian youth remember what took place at Vimy. The men who fought that day, both anglophone and francophone alike, came together with pride and united a nation. If we could all come together as they did 100 years ago, we would accomplish things we never could divided.
Even the thought of being at Vimy was special in and of itself, however the actual experience I can’t really put into words! Just being there as a Canadian remembering our fallen soldiers on the 100th anniversary was once in a lifetime. It’s so important that kids travel and get out there to be more aware of their surroundings, as that’s definitely what happened to us during our trip to Vimy Ridge!
James Le Noury
What an experience, to be there with my 25,000 fellow Canadians to witness the 100th anniversary of Canada’s coming of age. What a patriotic feeling it was to hear everyone shouting out the lyrics to “Oh Canada” and to hear the roar of our jets over the crowd. Overall it was a very moving and inspirational experience.
My experience at Vimy was incredible and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. My favourite moment was when the Canadian national anthem was playing and all 25,000 Canadians were singing. It was an incredible experience. I felt very lucky to be able to attend and very proud to be Canadian. It was unforgettable.
When we learned about WW1 and specifically Vimy Ridge in class, it never felt real; it was just a bunch of words on pages. Actually being there and standing in the same spot where thousands of Canadian soldiers stood was life-changing. There are no living soldiers who fought at Vimy Ridge remaining. It is so important that future generations continue to remember their sacrifice to ensure events like WW1 never happen again. Just being there with thousands of Canadians made me realize how lucky we are that we’re here and if it weren’t for those soldiers Canada wouldn’t be the same. It was an experience of a lifetime.
Vimy Ridge was an experience like I’ve never had before. Being there with Canadians from all over the country celebrating different elements of our culture at such an important moment in our history made me feel so proud to be Canadian. It also made the history so much more real. Seeing the names of all the fallen soldiers on the monument and all the cemeteries in the surrounding area really helped show how devastating this event was. I think it’s important that youth see this to help better understand the consequences of war so that we can work to prevent similar events in the future.
Living in Canada, we tend to feel distant from the horrors of war, but that is definitely not the case in France. Here, especially in the Vimy region, the war continues to be present everywhere. We can see the craters left from the bombs, walk through the trenches, and visit the graves of Canadian soldiers. Standing at the Vimy memorial service along with thousands of Canadians made me remember how proud we should all be of the history we have.