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There was nothing "beautiful" about the First World War. It was an inter-imperialist conflict that left 15 million dead. All ordinary soldiers in it were victims of the ruling classes' ambitions. And glorifying First Nations participation in imperialist wars as part of overcoming Canada's colonial treatment of First Nations is, at a minimum, ironic.
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We were welcomed by what I can only describe as peacefulness; only the sounds of rustling leaves and swaying trees could be heard even though the grounds were full of people. It was the polar opposite, I imagined, of what was going on in that same spot in April 1917, during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
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Vimy Ridge was a defining moment in Canadian history.
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On April 9, 1917, 100,000 Canadian soldiers fought at Vimy and 3,598 of those died -- the most Canadian deaths recorded in the war. A century later, it appears many have forgotten their sacrifice. Worse still, many like me (until recently) don't even know they have a link to the battle.
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Trudeau said he will be joined by Gov. Gen. David Johnston and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.
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As is often said, a photo can be worth a thousand words. The Vimy Foundation is working to help bring a human face to Canada's First World War history. In honour of Remembrance Week.... the Vimy Foundation is launching a unique and innovative project to colourize rarely seen images of the First World War, a project aimed at reengaging young Canadians on defining moments in our history.
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Canada was not quite 50 years old when the battle was fought. As Canada approaches its 150th anniversary, and the battle its 100th, it is an important moment to contemplate the values we want to uphold, and the role we wish to play in the world.
In a country that traditionally does not know its own history, young people are often identified as the main offenders. But this poem is different. It represents something that is ours. Written by a Canadian, learned by Canadians and recited by Canadians. The Vimy Foundation is calling on all Canadian schools to help pass the torch of remembrance by reciting In Flanders Fields.
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".. being exposed to opportunities can change you, can help you, can affect your community or your country."
It's been 98 years since Canada's soldiers emerged victorious at Vimy Ridge and in the process helped forge Canada's place in the world. And to mark the occasion, The Vimy Foundation has a novel idea...
Canada's achievements and sacrifices at Vimy Ridge 96 years ago have become a very meaningful touchstone for Canadians. The Vimy legacy has helped to build a bridge to a well-deserved national sense of pride and achievement. Let's all consider our unique history and Canada's place as a civil and open society.
You could learn a lot about Canada's national psyche from the country's enduring fascination with the battle of Vimy Ridge, fought 95 years ago this past week.