105th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

April 9, 2022

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I’m honoured to be here at the National War Memorial, as commander-in-chief, to help mark the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. This is sacred ground. I would like to acknowledge that some incidents that happened here at the Memorial recently should never happen again. We must always, all of us, treat this place with the greatest respect.

As has already been mentioned, I acknowledge that we are gathering on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.

Today, we are paying tribute to the brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces who served and sacrificed for our country.

Canada, and the world, had been at war for nearly three years when the order came: it was up to Canadians to take Vimy Ridge.

Strategists made plans and the training began.

For the first time, all four divisions of the Canadian corps would serve alongside each other. Canada faced this daunting task, united.

In the end, Vimy Ridge was ours. Canadian forces won the battle. In Inuktitut, we say ajuinnata. It means to never give up. They never did. They persevered.

But it came at a heavy price.

Thousands killed, thousands more injured. And every survivor carried the mental scarring of war throughout their lives.  

This battle, indeed, the entire war, is a story of unity and collaboration, of Canadian ingenuity, bravery and sacrifice.

But it also shows us why we must always strive to achieve peace. The cost is too high to do otherwise.

Heartbreaking conflicts still rage around the world, and it’s our responsibility to turn towards dialogue, towards understanding and respect. We owe that much to those who stormed Vimy Ridge more than a century ago.

Let us all tell their stories, learn our history and remember the lost possibilities of every life cut short.

Lest we forget.

Thank you.