The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Room 200 Legislative Building
Monday, April 10, 2017 – 12:00 p.m.
Fellow Canadians and friends of Canada, protectors of our country, keepers of memory and history – it is an honour to welcome you to this commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
We are gathered here on Treaty One territory, on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe and the homeland of the Métis people.
And we are gathered to recall an event that brought together Canadians from all parts of our country to fight for a small piece of land thousands of miles from their homes.
From April 9th to 12th, 1917, for the first time, all four Canadian divisions in the First World War fought together under Canadian command.
The victory they achieved at Vimy Ridge did not end that long and terrible war – another 18 months of fighting were still to come and Canada would play a key role in many of the battles ahead.
But the victory at Vimy Ridge did come to represent the spirit of an independent and united Canadian nation.
Under the most terrible conditions imaginable, Canadians developed innovative tactics and strategies and achieved success on the battlefield – not as disparate elements of the British Empire’s Expeditionary Force but as Canadians.
For generations after, their sacrifice and success have represented the coming of age of our nation.
In a year when we celebrate 150 years since Confederation, the centennial of Vimy Ridge provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made to build and defend our country.
Over the last century, the clay of Vimy Ridge has become part of the cement that holds together a vast and diverse nation of 35 million.
And today we promise that for as long as the sun rises and sets on Manitoba’s lakes and forest we will remember those Canadians who advanced through that clay a century ago.
Thank you. Merci. Meegwich.