OTTAWA, April 9, 2013 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, the Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of State and Chief Government Whip, was joined by His Excellency Philippe Zeller, Ambassador of France to Canada at a wreath-laying ceremony held at the National War Memorial to mark the 96 th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Veterans, youth, and members of the Canadian Armed Forces were also in attendance.
"The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a distinctively Canadian triumph and it represents Canada's courage, strength, and coming of age as a nation" said Minister Blaney. "Today, we remember and honour the sacrifices of those who served Canada 96 years ago."
April 9 has been designated by Parliament as Vimy Ridge Day in Canada. During this year's annual wreath-laying ceremony, youth from the Encounters with Canada program, the Army Cadets and the War Amps Operation Legacy, and representatives of Veterans' organizations laid poppies on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
"It is truly inspiring to see young Canadians so deeply engaged in remembering those who defended our values of peace, freedom, and democracy" said Minister O'Connor. "These youth play a crucial role in ensuring that the legacy of Canada's service men and women will be passed on to future generations."It was 96 years ago on Easter Monday, in 1917, that the four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought side-by-side for the first time and captured Vimy Ridge. By the fourth day, April 12, Canadians controlled the entire ridge. The victory at Vimy was not without a price. There were more than 10,600 casualties—of those, approximately 3,600 sacrificed their lives. For more information on Canada's contribution to the Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War, visit the Veterans Affairs Canada website at veterans.gc.ca. 2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law.