On April 6, seventeen students from Grades 9 - 12, accompanied by Mr. Dave Rehill, Head of Social Sciences and myself travelled to France to attend the official ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge.
The WWI Battle of Vimy Ridge began on the morning of April 9, 1917, and was the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought together as one formation. The Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge is considered to be highly significant in shaping Canada as a nation.
It was an honour and a privilege to attend this special ceremony on Sunday, April 9, 2017, along with approximately 25,000 (mostly Canadian) spectators, performers and dignitaries, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Governor General David Johnston, the president of France, François Hollande, and members of the Royal Family.
Under a sunny, clear, blue sky, HTS students witnessed the beautiful tributes made in speech, song, dance and drama to honour our fallen soldiers, never to be forgotten. In addition to attending the ceremony, the students also visited memorial sites in the cities of Arras, Ypres and the region known as the Salient. Then it was off to Normandy on the coast to visit the WWII battlegrounds of Dieppe and Juno Beach where local guides and historians explained the extraordinary military feat of the D-day landings.
The final leg of the trip included a tour of the Palace of Versailles and concluded with two full days to explore the fascinating city of Paris. The students are sure to remember our boat cruise on the Seine river, our visits to the Louvre, the Eiffel tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Musée d’Orsay and the lovely hill-top town of Mont-Martre. All relished their free time spent shopping for souvenirs or enjoying a baguette or croissant in a French café. Was this the best trip ever? Mais oui, bien sûr, c’était fantastique!