Message from the Governor General on the 107th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

April 9, 2024

On the 107th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, we reflect on the bravery and sacrifice made by members of the Canadian Armed Forces. As commander-in-chief, I am proud to recognize the efforts of our soldiers, past and present. Today, we honour their memories and remind ourselves that we must always work towards peace.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge holds a significant place in our nation’s history. It was one of the first examples of Canadian unity on a global scale—one of the first examples of showing the world what Canada is capable of: our strategic capabilities, our collaboration, our ingenuity. But victory came at a cost.

We honour the sacrifices of those who lost their lives. We recognize all those who came home with physical and mental scars. And we remember the enduring legacy they have left behind. Their bravery and sacrifice shaped our national identity and inspired future generations to uphold the values that define us as Canadians: compassion and the belief in a better world.

I encourage all Canadians to reflect on the significance of Vimy Ridge and the stories of our brave soldiers. Learn the stories of the Indigenous soldiers who fought at Vimy, such as those who served with the 107th “Timber Wolf” Battalion. Or the story of Private Robert Gilbert and other Black Canadians who fought at Vimy Ridge. Or the story of Ethelbert "Curley" Christian, who had both his arms and legs amputated as a result of injuries sustained at Vimy, yet retained a positive outlook on life and helped establish a program for disabled veterans that is still operating today.

There are many other stories that represent our diverse country. I encourage you to learn about them. We owe that much to the Canadians who were at Vimy Ridge more than a century ago, as well as to their families, who also sacrificed.

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

Lest we forget.

Mary Simon

Media information:
Rideau Hall Press Office

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