Visit to the Vimy Memorial
Arrived at the VImy Memorial just after 9. The sun was still low and there was a little mist. The Memorial itself is complete enclosed while undergoing 2 years of restoration work. After 70 years there were many issue of safety and ongoing damage to the stone that needed to be addressed. Their is an extensive park area around the monument, cemeteries and preserved trenches and tunnels. Apparently it is popular as a running area as I saw many runners out on the way in.
I have been suffering from my last race with a sore achilles, I feel self conscience limping around like a wounded solider among fields of the real thing. I’m hoping the foot injury is just a strain and will recover before I hit Paris next week. The amount of walking will increase even more then.
The park is remarkably quiet. There is some noise from the N17, which is the roadway I took from Arras but other than that very little. Again this area is relatively remote from any major community. A battlefield due to geography. to the Southwest is a long plain of farmland. You can’t see very far from here because of the trees that surround the area. I suspect that wasn’t much of an issue in 1917.
There are very few Canadian Monuments in Canada itself. I guess the Parliament buildings may be the only truly Canadian one. Most of the others, like the citadel in Halifax or the walls of Quebec city date from the days of French or British rule. The construction of this memorial in Northern France is likely the first purpose built CANADIAN monument. If the history of Canada is the struggle to be independent from foreign controls – French, British and you could argue today American. Here is where the Canadian Army became independent of direct British command. While still under the overall command of a British General, this battle was planned and executed by Canadian Generals directing Canadian troops.
Well, the tour guides just arrived and someone is about to raise the flag on the flagpole. I guess I need to put down my laptop and stand for that. After all there is a plaque 10 feet to my right that declares this land a gift to the people of Canada.