Leaders pay homage to fallen soldiers at Vimy Ridge

Millions of Canadians will pause and bow their heads today as they mark the 100th anniversary of one of the most transformative events in their country's history - the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Canada lost 3,600 soldiers and had over 7,000 injured during the three-day battle. 100 years have since passed, but the legacy of Canadians who served during the First World War and fought in this battle will never be forgotten.

"2017 is a special year of commemoration for Canada as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation and we remember the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele".

One pair of empty black combat boots for each of the men who died fighting for the ridge was placed atop the monument or on the vibrant green grass of the surrounding ridge.

For Lang, it's important that young people like Emery "take some time and reflect on what's happened in the past, because that's why we're able to have the life we lead today - because of the sacrifices they made".

The government of Canada hosted Sunday's somber ceremony of official speeches and performances by Canadian artists such as singer Loreena McKennitt.

"Those spires stand for peace and for freedom", Gov. Gen. David Johnston said, indicating the white towers of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial behind him. "They stand for justice and hope".

"Today we pay respect to those who fought and fell at Vimy Ridge and remember the price they paid so that we would have a better tomorrow".

The ceremony was held at the grand war memorial that marks the site of the battle and is a revered national symbol, is on the back of Canada's $20 bill to this day.

Up to 25,000 Canadians are expected at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, with millions more expected to watch from around the world.

"However, victory came at an unbearably heavy cost". The Battle of Vimy Ridge remains one of the bloodiest battles in Canada's history.

Hundreds of citizens from this French city have turned out in a heartfelt display of thanks to Canada and the thousands of Canadian soldiers who fought and died at nearby Vimy Ridge exactly a century ago. They did not waver.

Legion branches from the Royal Canadian Legion's E2 zone will march shoulder to shoulder with cadets from the Queen's York Rangers in Aurora and Base Borden, alongside members of York Regional Police's mounted unit and Upper Canada Cavalry, and in solidarity with emergency services personnel and members of the Chippewas of Georgina Island.

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