Vimy Ridge Commemoration Speech
Your Majesty, Mr. Francois Hollande-Prime Minister of the Republic of France, distinguished guests, veterans, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you all for honoring us with your presence today. We are gathered here at this memorial to honor the men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice; they sacrificed their lives for the greater good of our nation. Even though, we Canadians are supposedly a long way away from home there is perhaps no site in the world that makes us feel more Canadian. Every nation has an identity and central to the development of Canadian identity was the First World War, particularly the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Vimy Ridge was a 15 kilometre long escarpment close to the French city Arras. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a battle fought between the allied side consisting of Canada and Britain and the German forces. It was fought from April 9 to 12, 1917. Before Canada no one had been able to take Vimy Ridge from Germany and over 160 000 French and British soldiers had died on previous attempts to take Vimy Ridge. Julian Byng a British soldier and the Canadian Arthur Currie planned the attack. This was the first time that all four Canadian divisions fought together, under the command of Currie. Currie was the first Canadian-appointed commander of the Canadian Corps and he had planned with Byng for months during the winter before the attack. They gave their men maps of where they could organize and where the soldiers would go so they would not get caught in their own creeping barrage. The Creeping barrage was a technique where artillery would continuously pound the battlefield, allowing soldiers to sneak behind it. After extensive planning and rehearsing, the attack began at 5:30 a.m. on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917 with the thunderous sound of artillery. On that morning, a wave of 20 000 soldiers carefully sneaked behind their creeping barrage. In the plan the 1st and 2nd divisions had...
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