Remembering Our First World War Veterans

Ottawa - May 8, 2014

It was an honour for me to attend the First World War Ceremonies in France and Belgium last month.

As the morning fog withdrew from Vimy Ridge, a feeling of awe and wonder overtook us all as the full sight of the monument was revealed.  But even more moving during the ceremony was the participation of a young Canadian singer from Newfoundland whose melodious voice echoed through music what all of us were feeling in our hearts.

Throughout the visit to various monuments and historic places in France and Belgium, it was hard to imagine and accept the death, destruction and grief this particular war brought to people around the world.

In Arras we visited the Wellington Quarries where 24,000 British Commonwealth soldiers were billeted underground while waiting to carry out a surprise attack on the German lines.

At Beaumont Hamel we saw the ridge where the Newfoundland Regiment was almost decimated in one day of fighting.

In Ypres at the Menin Gate Memorial we attended a simple but moving ceremony that has taken place every day since 1928 (except during the Second World War).  Volunteers, commemorate the missing 50,000 soldiers, including 6,940 Canadians, whose names are inscribed in stone on the Gate`s magnificent vaulted walls.

Also in Ypres, we visited Essex Farms where LCol John McRae from the Canadian Army Medical Corps wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Fields”.

On occasion, our guides offered us some snippets of information, such as the possibility that both Hitler and Churchill were communications runners during World War One, and that these soldiers had the highest incidence of death because of the importance of their duties.  Just imagine if their fate would have been different, what would have been the future of the world?

All of the sights we visited reflect on sacrifices made by Canadian families. The evidence of the impact of war on people can never be overestimated. There will always be a price to pay and a debt owed by the Government to ensure the well-being of those affected by conflicts.

With the passing of our last Veterans of the First World War, these defenders of our freedom and values are now all reunited as comrades-in-arms. We must never forget their legacy to us in helping to build Canada and make us the country that we are today.

Lest We Forget

Guy Parent

Blog Comments

Please add your comment below. Remember if your submission is a complaint about your circumstances please use the Submit a Complaint section.

Important Notice

View Important Notice Details

By participating, you are taking personal responsibility for your comments, your username and any information provided. To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, comments containing personal information will not be published. "Personal information" means information about an identifiable individual that is recorded in any form. It may include, but is not limited to: name, address, email address, race, ethnic origin, medical and employment history, and identifying numbers. Note as well that the views or opinions expressed about another individual are considered personal information about and belonging to that individual.

Note: All fields marked with a red asterisk (*) must be filled out.

(will not be published)

Privacy Notice

View Privacy Notice Details

Provision of the information requested on this form is voluntary. It is collected under the authority of the Veterans Ombudsman Order in Council P.C. 2007-530. The information is collected for the purpose of providing an opportunity for the public to provide input on issues identified in the Veterans Ombudsman’s blog. Personal information that you provide is protected under the provisions of the Privacy Act.

The Act provides you with the right to access and request correction of your personal information.

Your personal information will be stored in Personal Information Bank number VAC PPU 210.

If you have any questions, contact our Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator.


There are currently no comments for this post.