Chilliwack paused to remember Sunday the sacrifices that were made 100 years ago on the muddy slopes of Vimy Ridge, in a victory that has come to define Canada.
The First World War battle, won where other allied armies had failed, came at a cost of more than 10,000 killed and injured.
Members of the Royal Legion Branch 280 hosted the Chilliwack service, held at the All Sappers Memorial Cenotaph at Vedder Crossing.
Across the Atlantic, Canadians honoured the fallen at a special service at the Vimy Memorial. They were joined by British Royalty, the Canadian Prime Minister and thousands of ordinary Canadians – including about 15 local cadets.
The battle marked the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought as one unit. Through innovation and meticulous planning, the Canadians took the heavily fortified stronghold, but not before 3,600 were killed and more than 7,000 injured.
Said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “Despite these losses, Canadian bravery and ingenuity won the day and led to one of the most decisive victories in the First World War. The innovative fighting techniques used so effectively by our soldiers at Vimy Ridge would contribute to the final Allied victory a year and a half later.”
In Chilliwack, although the victory was celebrated, the losses were also keenly felt as word filtered back to families here about the lives lost, or the soldiers missing.
That sacrifice was remembered Sunday. Under sunny skies, residents paused for a moment of silence, and laid wreaths to remember the fallen.