Legion plans Vimy Ridge ceremony

The Legion in will commemorate Vimy Ridge Day with a candlelight vigil on April 9 at 6:45 p.m. at the cenotaph behind city hall.

The Royal Canadian Legion in Abbotsford will commemorate Vimy Ridge Day with a candlelight vigil on April 9 (Easter Monday) at 6:45 p.m. at the cenotaph behind city hall.

Held for the first time last year, the ceremony will be attended by the Silver Cross Mother Mrs. Bason, the local MP and MLAs, the mayor,  the Royal Westminster Regiment, police, sheriffs and firefighters, air force and army cadets, and local service organizations.

Candlelight vigil ceremonies were started in the Netherlands in 1995, where the local children tend the graves of Canadian servicemen and women who died liberating the Netherlands in World War II.

Since then, the idea has been taken up by the Royal Canadian Legion. At the ceremony in Abbotsford, the same special candles will be placed around the cenotaph for the different armed services, for the Abbotsford veterans of different conflicts and for a number of Vimy Ridge veterans who have descendants living in Abbotsford and who will place the candles.

The candles, windproof and waterproof in their plastic housing, glow red as it gets dark at the end of the ceremony and produce a moving tribute to the veterans of Canada’s Armed Forces.

Some youngsters from the audience will also be able to place candles.

Vimy Ridge Day, April 9, was established by the government of Canada in 2003. It commemorates April 9, 1917, when the four Canadian divisions fought together for the first time as a united Canadian corps under mostly Canadian commanders.

The camaraderie established by the Canadian way of approaching their objective and the thoroughness of training and preparation before the battle, led to a victory for the Canadian troops.

All are welcome to attend the local vigil. There will be some covered seating.

For more information, contact Peter Slade at  columbia.49@shaw.ca