Members of the 20th Independent Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery and Cadets marched towards City Hall Monday commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
“Today, we do remember 100 years ago what our soldiers did at Vimy, fighting together for the first time in four Canadian divisions but also at a great loss,” Brig.-Gen. Nic Stanton, 3rd Canadian Division said.
It’s considered by many as one of the most significant battles in Canada’s military history but it came at a heavy price. Nearly 3,600 lives were lost and 7,000 were wounded.
“The ridge had not been taken by any of the other allies and it was the Canadians who had the breakthrough between the 9th and 12th of April 1917,” Stanton said.
Many people in the community – both young and old – lined the parade route to show support.
“It’s important to tell our story and pass it onto future generations the important contributions that Canada and Lethbridge have made around the world,” Mayor Chris Spearman said.
It was also a day to pay tribute to current soldiers who continue to carry on the legacy.
“I think it’s something to remember that we aren’t just an island unto ourselves and we’re part of the globe and helping support our military,” spectator Catherine Ball said.
Ball’s grandfather was a veteran and her husband serves in the 20th independent field battery. She wants her daughter Tabitha to know freedom comes at a cost.
“We talk a lot about the sacrifices and about what that means for our freedoms and us as Canadians,” she said.
After the Battle at Vimy Ridge, the war would carry on for another 18 months, with many more lives lost.
“About 261 people died in the First World War from Lethbridge and their names are on the cenotaph right beside us here, right now, so there is a rich history of the military here,” Stanton said.
As the community came together this weekend, the message was clear: we will remember them.