Visiting The Canadian National Vimy Memorial

September 18, 2017.  After the tour of the Vimy Memorial Visitors’ Centre and the tunnels, we went to visit the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Although familiar to us from seeing it on TV, the memorial is much larger and majestic in person.

CIMG8468 Sep 6 2017 Mother Canada memorial at Vimy Ridge

Canadian National Vimy Memorial from a distance. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG8295 Sep 5 2017 Canadian National Vimy Memorial closer up with twin white pylons

Canadian National Vimy Memorial showing the twin white pylons, one bearing the maple leaves of Canada, the other the fleurs-de-lys of France, to symbolize the sacrifices of both countries. Beside one of the pylons is the statue Canada Bereft. Below the pylons is The Tomb. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Site manager Johanne Gagné noted that “this monument is special because it focuses on values the soldiers shared and ultimately gave their lives for.”  11,285 names are inscribed on the memorial, two of them who also are on the Cenotaph outside the Borden-Carleton Legion:  John Lymon Wood and Patrick Raymond Arsenault.  Pieter immediately went to search out these two names.

IMG_20170905_114855242 Sep 5 2017 Vimy Memorial Inscription Arsenault

Patrick Raymond Arsenault inscribed on Vimy Memorial. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

IMG_20170905_115420984 Sep 5 2017 Vimy Memorial Inscription Wood

John Lymon Wood inscribed on Vimy Memorial. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

After finding the inscriptions, Pieter next looked for two plaques brought to the memorial in April by the students of Kinkora Regional High School and teacher Kevin Bustard.  Kevin had the plaques made after reading about Wood and Arsenault in an April 2017 article in the County Line Courier. (See CLC Apr 5 2017 p9 Two Unsung Heroes of Vimy Ridge)

To everyone’s surprise, the plaques were still at the Memorial. Arsenault’s was on The Tomb, and Wood’s was by his inscription.

CIMG8294 Sep 5 2017 tributes on The Tomb

Tributes left on The Tomb at the Vimy Canadian National Memorial. You can see the plaque for Patrick Raymond Arsenault on the far left. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Pieter reunited both plaques with photos of the two soldiers.

CIMG8299 Sep 5 2017 Wood & Arsenault Plaques

Plaques and photos of John Lymon Wood and Patrick Raymond Arsenault. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

While the plaques were left at the Memorial, the photos and information about Wood and Arsenault were given to Johanne Gagné, who told us that “the French are still welcoming and grateful for the sacrifices made by Canadians and say thank you.  They are grateful to Canada for keeping the memory alive after 100 years.  It’s humbling.”

CIMG8301 Sep 5 2017 Sep 5 2017 Johanne Gagne with Wood and Pieter with Arsenault

Johanne Gagné with plaque and photo of John Lymon Wood while Pieter holds plaque and photo of Patrick Raymond Arsenault. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

This was the end of our tour of Vimy Ridge and the Memorial.  It had been a special day and we salute Johanne Gagné for the time she spent giving us a wonderful tour and patiently answering our many questions.  Merci beaucoup Johanne!

In the next blog entry we explore two of the memorials in the Thélus area.  Comments or stories?  You can share them by emailing us at dariadv@yahoo.ca or by commenting on this blog.

© Daria Valkenburg

 

3 thoughts on “Visiting The Canadian National Vimy Memorial

  1. Pingback: WWI Soldier John Lyman Wood’s Connection With Acadia University | Borden-Carleton Cenotaph Research Project

  2. Pingback: Canadian War Graves Netherlands Foundation Project | Borden-Carleton Cenotaph Research Project

  3. Pingback: The WW1 Soldier From Barton Whose Body Was Never Recovered | On The War Memorial Trail Research Project…….. with Pieter and Daria Valkenburg

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