Lest We Forget
Emily Redmond, Staff Writer
Each year we strive to remember and honour our Canadian troops that serve in our military forces. We honour both those who continue to fight in the name of our country and those who have sacrificed their lives for it. Canadians all over the country sport a red poppy above their hearts and reflect upon the many sacrifices that solders have given up for our country. It is our responsibility as Canadians to make sure that these sacrifices do not go unnoticed and are never forgotten.
So, as to not forget the admiral services of our solders, we take two minutes of silence on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The moment of silence is done at this time because at this moment in 1918 soldiers everywhere laid down their arms and began to search for peace symbolizing the end of the World War I.
While we honor the soldiers who fought in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Afghanistan Conflict, and peacekeeping missions, we also call special recognition to the valiant troops who fought in the Vimy Ridge battle of World War I. This historic battle was fought in France between Canadian and German troops; it was the first time that all Canadian troops came together. The historic attack began on what would be a peaceful and religious celebration for the rest of the world, Easter Sunday. With unusually frigid temperatures and a strong wind, the Canadian troops advanced, receiving some aid by the strong wind that blew the snow in their enemies’ faces. By 6:00 p.m. on April 12th, Canada had defeated the Germans and gained control of Vimy Ridge. Canadian troops were led gallantly by Sir Arthur William Currie and had achieved victory together.
No one is sure how the Canadians managed to overtake the Germans in the historic battle, but there are a few speculations as to why we were so successful. With an advanced air force, the North American soldiers were able to gather important information about the German base through aerial photographs, of which they based their offense. But aerial reconnaissance was a difficult and dangerous task, despite the fact that Canadian aircrafts outnumbered the Germans. Many credit the overall success of the Canadian army (in correlation with the British) to the clever strategies, technological innovation, scrupulous planning, and extensively trained soldiers backed by a powerful artillery unit that was employed. Many aspects of the actual battle, along with original documents written by the generals of either side, and historian speculation regarding the interworking of the combat are proudly displayed in the war memorial museum and park, which occupies 100 hectares of the previous battleground.
Because it is so important to pay tribute to our past and present military, many Remembrance Day services are offered in Edmonton to honour those who served our noble country in times of war and peace. The largest event occurring in Alberta’s capital city is located at City Hall on Friday, November 11th; after the indoor ceremony beginning at 10:15 a.m. promptly, there will be a procession leading outside where a wreath-laying ceremony will commence. Another noteworthy event takes place at the U of A Butterdome where many, especially the younger demographic, will be paying their respects. However, a more traditional ceremony will take place at the Loyal Edmonton Regiment Military Museum from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. to commemorate all the noble individuals who showed the ultimate sacrifice for our country. If it is not possible to attend an official service, there will be global coverage of Canada’s main ceremony in Ottawa, and I urge everyone to at least watch part of it and respect our troops with a minute of reflective silence or prayer. As we view the High-Level Bridge, a symbol of development in our city and a key piece of the skyline lit up in red and white on Friday, November 11th, let us empathize and honour the courageous men and women who fight for our nation.
At Vimy Ridge and so many of the other hundreds of battles fought in WWI and WWII, victory comes with many losses of loved ones and of brave leaders. This is why we acknowledge this day as a vital part of the Canadian history, to remember and to refrain from repeating. We must all recall not only the political history of the wars but also the stories and feelings behind them. Rejoicing in other’s sacrifices for our free land, yet respecting all the families that continue to pay the price of it. So as we take a movement of silence for our illustrious troops on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we shall remember those who fought for our country and those who died for a better future of their ‘home and native land’. Lest we forget our friends, neighbours, community members, and family who served, and continue to serve, Canada.