Honouring Veterans Week 2017

This year is 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

Veterans’ Week is a time when all Canadians remember the men and women who have defended Canada and those who continue to serve in our military today. On Remembrance Day, Canadians come together at memorials and cenotaphs across our nation to honour our Veterans. We remember their exceptional achievements, their sacrifice, and the contribution they have made to Canada’s legacy.

This year is the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge where 10,000 Canadians were killed or wounded.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was an exceptionally important turning point for Canada. As Brigadier-General A.E. Ross said, “in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation”. As much as the battle has become symbolic in how it helped forge the nation we have today, we must never forget the cost.

More than 10,000 Canadian soldiers were killed or wounded at Vimy Ridge. I wrote about Vimy Ridge in my April 12 Parliamentary Report (www.kevinsorenson.ca).

After the Battle for Vimy Ridge in April, the Canadians were sent to Belgium to relieve battered Allied forces and take part in the final push to capture Passchendaele. The terrain and conditions were shocking. From October 6 to November 6, 1917, mud, flat terrain (exposing the troops to the enemy), and the lack of preparation time and artillery support made the fight to liberate Passchendaele formidable.

100,000 members of the Canadian Corps took part in the Battle of Passchendaele, where 4,000 Canadian soldiers were killed and almost 12,000 wounded. Nine Canadian soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross – the highest award for military valour a Canadian can earn. Learn more about these nine remarkable stories at: Canada.ca/Canada-remembers.

2017 is an important year for Canada. Again, it marks the 150th Anniversary of our nation’s Confederation; the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge where the world first learned of the contributions Canada would be making to the international community; and, the 100th Anniversary of the Battle for Passchendaele, where we sealed our reputation and commitment to fighting for freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

In World War I – 626,736 served 66,573 died;

In World War II – 1,081,865 served 44,927 died;

In the Korean War – 26,791 served 516 died and 1,558 were wounded;

In the Gulf War 4,074 served; and

in Afghanistan (25,000 served on a rotational basis and 158 died).

Remembrance Day is a time to mourn and reflect, but it is also a time to celebrate the proud military traditions of our great country. Canadians continue to protect and promote the values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law in Canada and abroad.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or previous columns you may write me at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-608-4603 or e-mail Kevin.Sorenson.c1@parl.gc.ca.

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