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Halifax cadets commemorate Vimy Day, honour Canada’s fallen at Citadel Hill

Click to play video: 'Cadets honour Canadian soldiers at the Battle of Vimy Ridge' Cadets honour Canadian soldiers at the Battle of Vimy Ridge
About 100 cadets from across the Halifax Regional Municipality honoured the courage and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Elizabeth McSheffrey reports – Apr 6, 2019

Cadets from across the Halifax Regional Municipality are honouring the courage and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers at the battle of Vimy Ridge.

About 100 members gathered at Citadel Hill on Saturday for a parade and tour of the historical grounds, where they watched a documentary on a famed Nova Scotian soldier, heard from Canadian Armed Forces members, and learned about life in the trenches of the First World War.

Vimy Day is celebrated Canada-wide on April 9 — the day Canadian troops fought for the first time as a united corps at Vimy Ridge in 1917. More than 10,000 soldiers were wounded or killed.

This celebration was held just a few days shy of the battle’s 112th anniversary.

READ MORE: Visiting Vimy Ridge memorial in northern France a solemn pilgrimage for Canadians

Cadets say the annual homage gives them valuable perspective on the lives they lead today.

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“Things in the past happened for a reason,” said Chief Warrant Office Kyle Bracken of the 2632 Halifax West RCA Cadet Corps.

“And if you learn about, perhaps, the mistakes of other people that had consequences as bad as war, we can prevent doing those same things in our future and in our lives, and we can build a better country for ourselves.”

Ana Huestis, a master warrant officer of the 2501 Halifax-Dartmouth Artillery Cadet Corps, agreed. She said it’s important for young people to continue to learn about the battle of Vimy Ridge and the sacrifices that were made there.

“You can really get the sense of how it was in the trenches, and how all those brave soldiers had to go out there — especially the weather today, it’s really cold and stuff,” she explained, touring the Army Museum on Citadel Hill with her peers.

“So us being cold for, like, five minutes is nothing compared to them being cold for like four years.”

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

The parade was cut short due to rain and snow, but according to event organizers, the weather conditions were similar to those on the day of the Vimy Ridge battle itself.

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Lieutenant Colonel Gary Melville, administrator of the Army Museum, said he’s concerned that these details are being lost to the textbooks.

“I don’t believe that things like Canada’s military history [are] very well taught in our school system or just out in society,” he told Global News.

“And the reason we have what we have today is because of those that went before us and the sacrifices they made, and I think people need to understand that.”

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