Living memorial set to be unveiled during Royal Military College’s reunion weekend

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Vimy Ridge Commemorative Oak Memorial to officially be unveiled as a part of Reunion Weekend – Sep 12, 2018

Kingston’s Royal Military College will celebrate its reunion weekend beginning Friday. It’s a time of celebration as hundreds of ex-cadets return to their alma mater. It’s also a time when first-year cadets are officially welcomed to the school.

Another tradition is that of giving back. The graduating classes of 1967 and 1973 have paid for and will officially unveil their gift of the Vimy Ridge commemorative oak memorial. The co-ordinator of the project, John Lesperance, says the focal point of the site is a young oak tree with a special heritage.

“That’s the distinctive portion of this monument, you actually have a tree from an acorn that came from Vimy Ridge. The connection is clear and distinct and it’s alive,” Lesperance said.

READ MORE: Most Canadians can’t identify the Battle of Vimy Ridge monument: Ipsos poll

The memorial honours the graduates of RMC who served in the First World War. At the time of the Vimy battle in April of 1917, nearly 23 per cent of the commanders and staff of the Canadian Corps were graduates of the college. Lesperance, a retired colonel and veteran of Bosnia, says the memorial is definitely unique, something all involved are extremely proud of and the victory at Vimy over 100 years ago is an event that shouldn’t be forgotten.

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“[It was a] significant battle in Canadian history,” Lesperance said. “[It was] a coming out for Canada, commanding its own troops, first time. They were a colony, after that they became more to stand on their own as an independent country.”

READ MORE: Cochrane sculptors create statue of soldier to commemorate Vimy Ridge anniversary

The monument will officially be unveiled at noon on Sunday.