DRPS members and our pipes and drums band joined over 50,000 people who commemorated the battle of Vimy Ridge Sunday in France. They were part of a group of students and chaperones from Durham Region who made the trip to honour the 100th Anniversary of the battle.
Our members performed on Sunday and at several memorial ceremonies over the past several days in London and Germany. A new dynamic Visitor Education Centre will open at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial opens today, and our youngest piper, 13-year-old Michael Malish, plays a special role in the celebration.
He was chosen to pipe in VIPs as they enter the new Education Centre. "I have family connections who have contributed to Canada's military and a Great, Great Grandfather who served in the Royal Navy in World War I and also played the bagpipes, says Michael. "I feel very privileged to be able to attend the 100th anniversary of Vimy and be part of this remembrance of Canada's role in history."
The battle of Vimy Ridge, which took place between April 2 and April 12, 1917, is commonly highlighted as a turning point in Canadian History. Four Canadian divisions fought together and defeated German forces. April 9, 1917 saw the greatest number of casualties. The battle claimed the lives of 3,598 Canadian solders and is often regarded as the beginning of Canada's move toward an independent nation.
Thanks to fundraising efforts, this is the second time some of our members have joined this contingent. The last time was in 2012 to celebrate the 95th Anniversary. Cst. Fleming attended in 2012 and is joining the group again this year. He says the trip gives students a chance to experience history first hand and is something they will never forget. This year is a first for our Pipes and Drums Band who are proud of the honour.
The town of Arras France welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Governor General David Johnston, members of the British Royal family and leaders of Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, to remember the thousands who sacrificed their lives during the battle.
Vimy Ridge Memorial 2017 (JPG file, 197.5K bytes)
DRPS Members in France (JPG file, 251.3K bytes)