Dragoons to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

On Sunday, the princes and Prime Minister of Canada came together to lay poppies and a pair of soldiers boots at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France.

In that battle, Canadian soldiers, under British command, captured German positions across a four-mile ridge after British and French soldiers failed.

The battle and victory have become an important part of Canada's national identity, symbolizing the shift from a former British colony to an independent nation. "They have not only contributed greatly to the peace and security of our country but indeed to the peace and security of Nations near and far beyond our borders", says Serré.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Trudeau and son Xavier board a government plane in Ottawa, Saturday April 8, 2017.

"Today, as people on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean gather to mark the 100 anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, there will be hard memories of loss and of suffering, but also memories of many heroic acts of bravery and of sacrifice on the part of those who served". The ceremony was a moving artistic performance by well-known Canadian actors and musicians in the presence of dignitaries, Veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 10,000 Canadian youth, Indigenous Peoples, descendants of those who fought in the First World War and the public.

"Canada, when they took that ridge, took it in four days", he explains. "We must never forget their service and sacrifice".

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And despite suffering frightful casualties during the four-day battle, with 3,598 dead and more than 7,000 wounded, they would succeed where the British and French had failed by capturing the ridge.

It was neither decisive for the war's outcome "nor the most fundamental" of the battles fought by Canadians during the conflict, Boire said. "They are telling us the future of our countries is to be united".

Earlier Sunday, Trudeau and Hollande unveiled a separate "Poppy of Peace" monument in the town of Arras, a few kilometers (miles) from Vimy.

Instead, rain and sleet and artillery shells had lashed what then was a muddy, bloody battlefield as 30,000 Canadian soldiers huddled in trenches and waited for the assault to kick off.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has said the "power of Allied force" is as relevant today as it was in 1917, as world leaders gathered to mark the centenary of a defining First World War battle.

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