The Canadian flag and all Royal Canadian Legion flags will be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, April 9 in observance of Vimy Ridge Day 2018. The day honours and remembers those who fought during the fierce Battle of Vimy Ridge in France in 1917, a defining moment for Canada as soldiers from several divisions battled together.
“On that day, Canadian soldiers managed to seize that ridge, amidst great loss of life,” says David Flannigan, Dominion President. “It was a momentous feat and it took their selfless sacrifice to help bring us the peace we have today. We lower our flags in their memory,” he says. Almost 3,600 Canadian soldiers lost their lives and over seven thousand were wounded.
The French government honoured Canada’s feat by ceding the ridge to Canadians in 1922. The ridge is now marked by the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, which stands at its highest point.
Legion Vice President Angus Stanfield’s grandfather played a significant role as a bagpiper on Vimy Ridge and also taught him to play the pipes as a young boy. While Stanfield’s grandfather didn’t share too much about the battle, it was enough. “I understood what a horrendous price was paid for the freedoms Canadians enjoy,” he says. “My grandfather left a lot of himself on the battlefield.”
Stanfield says he has a better understanding of his grandfather’s past after visiting Vimy last year, and on many days such as Vimy Ridge Day, he thinks about him often.
The Legion joins federal, provincial and municipal institutions in lowering the Canadian flag. The Government of Canada first proclaimed this day of Remembrance in 2003.