Ceremony honours 31 Islanders killed at Vimy Ridge

Ceremony honours 31 Islanders killed at Vimy Ridge”

The battle of Vimy Ridge began at dawn on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, when all four divisions of the Canadian Corps attacked Vimy.

Canadian soldiers on Saturday attend the sunset ceremony at Vimy Canadian National Memorial, on the eve of the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be joined at the ceremony by French President Francois Hollande.

"The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a turning point in the First World War and for Canada, when Canadians acted -- and fought -- as one", Trudeau said ahead of the commemorations.

Historians today generally agree that Vimy was not the most important of Canada's First World War battles.

"On April 9th we remember and honour the many Canadians who fought and died for the freedom of our nation and did what no other force was able to accomplish, to liberate France".

Today, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), along with all Canadians, would like to acknowledge the courageous soldiers, and in particular, the physicians who contributed to the Battle of Vimy Ridge 100 years ago.

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Millions of Canadians will pause and bow their heads today as they mark the 100th anniversary of one of the most transformative events in their country's history - the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

There had been bloodier battles for the Canadians - 24,000 were killed or wounded at the Somme as compared to 11,000 at Vimy.

Pictured, Francois Hollande speaks with a woman during the poppy ceremony.

In his tribute to his countrymen who fought and died on Vimy Ridge Mr Trudeau told the thousands attending the ceremony in blazing spring sunshine: "But this monument is also symbolic of Canada's birth and our enduring commitment to peace". In the words of one veteran: 'We went up Vimy Ridge as Albertans and Nova Scotians. "And they remind us that one can not exist without the other".

"As we honour such great bravery and sacrifice, we should honour the fearless men and women of the Canadian Forces, who risk their lives to carry on this proud tradition of service - and keep us all safe".

Canada's victory at Vimy became a nation-building moment for English Canada at a time when the young country, a former colony of Great Britain, was still very much attached to Britain.

They've been in the country since Thursday, visiting historic sites from the First World War.

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