Visiting Vimy Ridge

With Remembrance Day coming up this Wednesday, I wanted to look back at my trip to London back in 2017 and visiting Vimy Ridge in France. We took the ferry over from Dover to Calais and stayed in a nice B&B in Albert, France. From there we drove to Vimy and visited the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

When you approach the memorial you are struck by how big it is, how quiet it is, and by how much farmland surrounds the memorial. The intricate statues and names engraved into the stone is incredibly moving. They surround the memorial. When you approach the top of the memorial you are able to look out and downhill where Canadian soldiers risked their lives to capture the hill from the Germans.

On the grounds, they have preserved trenches that you can walk through. As someone who is 6’3″, when I stood up in the trenches, my head cleared the top of the trench easily. There were only two or three places where I could stand up straight and still be covered. As you also walk through the memorial to get to the trenches you see these large craters that have been left alone to allow sheep to graze and clear the grass. It is too dangerous for staff to go out and cut the grass and maintain the grounds, so the sheep allow this to happen without any risk. You have to be very careful where you walk, staying only on the pathways, because there are still unearthed bombs below ground that have not gone off.

Elsewhere on the grounds, they have another memorial site with a graveyard of commonwealth dead. It was moving to walk through and see how everyone is commemorated.

Take a moment on Wednesday to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. I was lucky in 2017 to visit these grounds after Remembrance Day and it had special meaning to visit the grounds as a Canadian. If you also have a chance to visit Vimy Ridge, please take that opportunity. You will not regret it.

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