At a special ceremony on Parliament Hill today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, were presented with Vimy pins to officially launch the Vimy Foundation Pin Campaign. The presentation was made by David Houghton, President of the Vimy Foundation.
“This pin reminds us of an incredible generation of Canadians, who 95 years ago, achieved what others could not: they captured Vimy Ridge,” said Minister Blaney. “With the passing of the last Canadian First World War Veteran two years ago, our Government will continue to ensure that we honour and preserve our Veterans’ sacrifices.”
The Vimy Pin, which is available for purchase online through the Vimy Foundation’s Web site, was introduced in February 2009. Spearheaded by Christopher Sweeney, a member of the Vimy Foundation Board of Directors, the pin has been called “April’s Poppy.” It is the Foundation’s goal that Canadians wear the pin every Vimy Ridge Day in remembrance of that outstanding victory on April 9, 1917, and in recognition of that battle’s contribution to the Canadian identity.
“Canada’s contribution, sacrifice and determination in World War I, as best represented by the Battle of Vimy Ridge, were pivotal in shaping the course of our nation,” said David Houghton. “The Vimy Foundation believes that the key to a successful future lies in knowing one’s past, and this unique pin helps us to share the remarkable story of Vimy with younger generations.”
It was 95 years ago on Easter Monday, April 9, 1917, that the four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting side by side for the first time, captured Vimy Ridge. By the fourth day, April 12, Canadians managed to take control of the entire ridge. The victory at Vimy was not without a price. Canada suffered more than 10,600 casualties. Of those, approximately 3,600 gave their lives.