Aannii. Bonjour. Welcome.
I must send regrets that prior commitments prevented me from being with you today and joining in this Vimy Ridge Parade.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge is known as Canada’s most celebrated military victory as it solidified and showcased this nation’s courage, leadership and belief in doing what is right. Canadians had experienced many times of solidarity and pride with one another prior to this battle; however, Vimy Ridge became a real symbol for what the people within these borders can achieve and that they could do it as its own unit. This is why the Battle of Vimy Ridge is known as the “birth of a nation,” and that is something to be proud of.
La bataille de la crête de Vimy devait se dérouler de manière rapide et efficace et les forces canadiennes étaient les seules qui pouvait accomplir cette mission. La crête était un point d’importance stratégique pour l’Allemagne. Les forces canadiennes sont les seules qui ont été capable de faire ce que les autres pays établis ne pouvaient pas faire.
Though it is important to remember the triumphs from this historic victory, we cannot forget the 60,000, brave soldiers that gave the ultimate sacrifice – 3,598 from the Battle of Vimy Ridge alone. Without their strength and passion, the multiple gains accomplished would not have been possible. We must also remember, honour and recognize the many Indigenous soldiers who fought in these battles. Soldiers like Harry Byce who was a highly decorated veteran of the First World War and the father of Charles Henry Byce who was the most decorated Indigenous veteran from the Second World War. These ceremonies of remembrance are great opportunities to reflect on all different fronts of solidarity, unity and respect, which continues to be true today.
To the people in our community who continue to ensure these stories continue to be shared and honoured 101 years later – thank you. The work you continue to do to pay tribute has not gone unnoticed and it gives our community new opportunities to learn and pay homage to people, narratives and events that otherwise may not have been known.
We will remember – nous nous souvenons. Miigwetch. Merci. Thank you.
Michael Mantha, MPP