Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 14, 2007 10:49 ET

Media Advisory/DND: Nijmegen Marchers Visit Vimy Memorial

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 14, 2007) - The contingent of some 220 Canadian Forces (CF) personnel participating in this year's International Four Days Marches Nijmegen will visit the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France July 15 to hold a memorial ceremony, supported by the Royal Canadian Legion.

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a victory that defined Canada as a nation. On April 9, 1917, the Canadian Corps, fighting as one army for the first time, accomplished what no other nation had succeeded in doing; it broke through the heavily defended German lines to capture and secure the Ridge.

In 1922, France designated approximately one square kilometre of the area of the battle to be Canadian territory, as stated on a plaque at the entrance to the Memorial, "the free gift in perpetuity of the French nation to the people of Canada." Canada erected the Vimy Monument on this site, and inscribed the names of the 11,285 Canadian soldiers who died in France but have no known graves. The Monument was recently refurbished and was rededicated on the anniversary of the battle by Queen Elizabeth II.

In addition to the Monument itself, the Memorial includes a small museum, an area of preserved trenches and tunnels, and nearby cemeteries of those killed in the battle. In 1997, the Vimy Memorial was designated as a National Historic Site, one of only two outside Canada.

The International Four Days Marches Nijmegen is a prestigious Dutch marching event Canadian military contingents have participated in every year since 1952. Over the course of the event, which will take place July 17-20, 2007, all participants must complete a 160 km march while carrying a standard military rucksack weighing at least 10 kg. The Nijmegen Marches is also the world's largest walking event, attracting thousands of civilian participants as well as hundreds of other military teams. More than 40,000 marchers from at least 50 nations are expected to participate this year.

NOTE TO NEWS/ASSIGNMENT EDITORS:

Interviews can be arranged between Canadian media outlets and Canadian Forces personnel who are in Nijmegen by contacting the Public Affairs Officer on location, Ms. Tina Crouse, at: 613-286-2398.

As still imagery of the Vimy ceremony is obtained it will be posted on the Combat Camera website at:

www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca

For information on Canadian Forces participation in the Nijmegen Marches, visit:

http://www.forces.gc.ca

Additional information on the Vimy Memorial can be found on Veterans Affairs Canada website at:

http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=memorials/ww1mem/Vimy&CFID=1937544& CFTOKEN=88837832

For further information, visit the official website of the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen at:

http://www.4daagse.nl/index.asp?taal=en&pagina=homepagina&interactivepage

Contact Information