Remembering Canada's Role in WWI
Trip Start Apr 27, 2010
12Trip End May 08, 2010
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In the morning we left our hotel bright and early in Rouen and made our way to eastern France to visit sites related to Canada's role in World War One. Our first stop was a 10am visit to Beaumont Hamel. This was the location of the slaughter of the Newfoundland Regiment on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The students entered the site, viewed the Newfoundlanders' trenches, and saw the objectives they were supposed to make their way across to. Students listened to guides explain how and why the Newfoundland Regiment was essentially wiped out within minutes under a hail of German bullets. The group had a little time to visit the site and take pictures before boarding the bus and heading to our next stop, Vimy Ridge
Vimy Ridge is a very significant location in Canadian history, as it was this site that Canada's army first fought as one, undre Canadian command. The aking of this ridge is viewed as a turning point in the formation of a Canadian identity, and the students were eager to see this site. They began their visit with a visit to the underground tunnels, where the soldiers stayed as they prepared to attack in April 1917. After the tunnels, the students went throught the preserved trenches and saw the many shell craters that still exist at the site. The group then made its way to the impressive Vimy monument, and after a group photo explored the site and reflected on this important moment in Canadian history.
After lunch, the students then made their way into Belgium and first visited a site known as Essex Farm. This was the location of John McCrae's dressing station and the site where he wrote his famous poem In Flanders Fields. Students had time to explore the memorial and visit McCrae's actual dressing station that has been preserved. A very impressive site that moved many of our students.
After time to shop in Ypres, the students visited the phenomenal In Flanders Fields Museum
The final event of the day was the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate. The students gathered underneath this impressive monument for an 8pm ceremony of remembrance. Overall, over 800 people attending this ceremony, and watched several students lay wreaths, including our own Kaitlyn Howden, who laid a wreath of behalf of Anderson CVI.
In the end, the students had a wonderful experience today and hopefully the next few days will continue to inspire our kids to remember and honour our veterans!