In a ceremony reminiscent of Remembrance Day, Qualicum Beach Legion Branch 76 marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge with a parade and candle-laying ceremony at the Legion hall, Sunday.
The Legion colour guard and membership were joined by the Qualicum Beach Pipe Band in the brief parade down Veteran’s Way to the hall, where Legion president Don Taylor provided an introduction and second vice-president Walter Sweet followed with a prayer and a brief history of the battle in France, in which Canadian troops successfully pushed back entrenched German troops.
The battle resulted in the loss of 3,598 Canadian lives, with another 7,000 injured.
Sunday’s ceremony also included playing of the lament and reveille and two minutes of silence in memory of the fallen, before candles were placed on a table set up in front of the cenotaph.
“It’s the 100th anniversary, plus it’s the first time a Canadian contingent of that size all attacked together as one group, so it’s rather significant that way,” Taylor said. “People have said that was the birth of our nation, so in many ways this day is significant.”
The Vimy Ridge commemoration is not an annual event for the Legion, which will host the local commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic on May 7.
This is the first time, and it probably won’t be done again,” said Taylor. “It’s because it’s the 100th anniversary, just a very special day.”
A veteran’s lunch followed the commemoration and drew more than 100 members, Taylor said. The Legion began planning the event just after Christmas last year, with Sweet taking on the lead organizing role.