Cadets from across the Fraser Valley joined Royal Canadian Legion members, police and firefighters at the Cloverdale Cenotaph, where they took part in a commemorative ceremony marking Vimy Ridge Day.
An Honour Guard of army, navy and air cadets stood watch at the Cenotaph for the service.
Fr. Zarafe of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Surrey read the prayer, while participants took time to remember Canadian soldiers who fought and died in the battle of Vimy Ridge.
“The Battle of Vimy Ridge is considered Canada’s coming of age because Canadian soldiers accomplished what British and French soldiers had failed to do when they captured Vimy Ridge from German forces,” explained Captain Mark Iredale, Commanding Officer of the 2277 Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, RCACC Langley.
“An important part of the cadet program is to educate youth about Canadian military history.”
The Canadian soldiers were given the task of capturing the German-held ridge, located 175 km north of Paris.
The ridge was heavily fortified with tunnels, machine gun nests, trenches and barbed wire.
Fighting waged from April 9 to 12, 1917, as wave upon wave of Canadian soldiers faced bombardment from shells and machine gun fire to take the ridge – at great cost and sacrifice – a task deemed impossible by the French and the British. The battle claimed more than 10,000 casualties, with 3,598 killed and 7,104 injured. Thousands more were missing and presumed dead.
The April 12 service was followed by a parade from Surrey Museum Plaza to the Cloverdale Legion, where more than 100 cadets marched through the historic Cloverdale town centre.