Legion branches are flying Canadian flags at half-mast Saturday, commemorating Vimy Ridge Day.
“Remembering this battle is particularly important to the Legion and its nearly 300,000 members,” said Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion Tom Eagles.
“It is important because Canadians were able to do what no other Allied force could do at that time during First World War — capture Vimy Ridge.”
The 1917 victory marked the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Corps worked as one formation, according to Veterans Affairs Canada, and their triumph at Vimy led to Canada earning a separate signature on the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending the First World War.
“The Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War was a moment that defined our nation,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement Saturday.
While the capture of Vimy Ridge was one of the Great War’s most remarkable military victories, “it came at great cost. Nearly 3,600 Canadians lost their lives and over 7,000 more were wounded.”
Ceremonies took place at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in Vimy, France, and Ottawa’s National War Memorial.
Preparations are underway to mark next year’s 100th anniversary, coinciding with Canada’s 150th anniversary –- “a particularly fitting coincidence since many have suggested that it was following the Battle of Vimy Ridge that Canada truly became a nation,” said Eagles.