The Emergence of a Nation

Brigadier-General Alexander Ross who was commander of the 28th Battalion at Vimy Ridge says the following quote when he reflects on his experience at Vimy Ridge. “It was Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific on parade. I thought then, and I think today, that in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation.” World War 1 featured many battles some were important some were insignificant. There were battles that achieved great victories and others that led to humiliating defeats. So what makes Vimy Ridge different? Why do we still talk about Vimy Ridge but not about other battles that resulted in far less deaths. In this paper I will try to answer these questions and explain why Vimy Ridge is the most well known World War 1 battle today and why we must not forget what this battle brought to Canada. For the Canadians at war and at home the battle of Vimy Ridge would prove to be significant then and today.

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Before I continue let me give you a brief historical context about what Vimy Ridge entailed and what was going on in the world at the time. The British had tried, the French had tried, but all had failed. These failures led to the Canadians getting tasked with the assignment of taking Vimy Ridge. The Canadians took months planning and looking at what had gone wrong for the British and French, they learned from the mistakes and took these into consideration. On Easter Monday April 9, 1917 at 5:30 am the battle of Vimy Ridge in France began with all four Canadian divisions fighting together for the first time about 100, 000 strong. All at once the Canadians launched a heavy barrage and you could hear the whole earth shake at once. The main challenge that the Canadians would face during the attack on Vimy Ridge would be Hill 145. This hill had been the German stronghold and was reinforced with… After fierce fighting the Canadians emerged as the victors and had done what neither the British or the French could do, they had defeated the German stronghold and had captured Hill 145. However, the victory had come at a cost with… In … the Vimy Memorial was built as a way to remember those brave souls that had lost their lives fighting for our freedom.


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