“On the morning of April 9, 1917, on a battlefield in France, a deafening artillery barrage began. Advancing steadily behind this unprecedented wave of destruction were all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, brought together for the first time in the war.
“Their number included men from across the nation, of every background. They included immigrants, who had known the sting of intolerance in their new homeland. They included Canadians of Asian heritage, treated as outsiders in the land of their birth, and Indigenous troops, whose rights were scarcely recognized by the nation whose name was emblazoned on their uniforms. They all fought for Canada.
“By the end of the day, they had reached the heights of Vimy Ridge, an enemy stronghold that other armies had tried, and failed, to capture. The victory cost Canada dearly: 3,598 lives lost, and more than 7,000 wounded.
“And yet, Vimy Ridge marked a bright spot in the grim chronicle of war. Through state-of-the-art planning and training techniques, Canadians together achieved what others could not. Their victory declared that Canada could stand on its own.
“As we recall the triumph at Vimy Ridge, let us not forget that the soaring marble monument that stands there today is dedicated to 11,285 Canadians who died during the four long years of the First World War, and who have no known grave.
“Let us remember them today, and work for peace every day.”
Provincial Press Release April 9, 2020 @ 9:17 AM