While thousands of Canadians gathered at the site of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France Sunday, the sacrifices were also remembered in Belleville.
Over 100 people bowed their heads for a moment of silence at the Belleville Cenotaph, in honour of the almost 11,000 Canadian casualties and close to 4,000 Canadians killed in battle 100 years ago.
It was a pivotal battle in World War I, with the Canadians finally doing what the British and French had tried to do for days, taking Vimy Ridge from the Germans.
Army Navy Association Vets Padre, Major Wil Brown-Ratcliffe delivered the message, saying the Battle of Vimy Ridge was both “awful and wonderful” for the Canadian troops. It was wonderful because of the courage displayed, and terrible because of the cost in human lives.
Major Brown-Ratcliffe said Vimy Ridge was the first time Canadians in large numbers had fought together, and won, adding it was a tremendous display of the virtues of sacrifice and selflessness.
The Major said the taking of Vimy Ridge a century ago was an unprecedented moment of national pride for the young country named Canada.
“The battle gave us a distinct moment of strength and dignity, and helped solidify a real identity as a country.”
Major Brown-Ratcliffe made special mention of the thousands of Canadian young people, including several from the Quinte region, who attended the 100th anniversary at Vimy Ridge in France Sunday.
“The young people of today are our future, and they can take inspiration from those who paid a horrible price. The young people at Vimy Ridge will learn about sacrifice, courage, and generosity, traits which will serve us well in the years ahead”.