Every year, History Television Canada shows a week of Canadian Military Historical programming on the week leading up Remembrance Day on November 11th. This year, they're focusing a good deal of the programming to shows about Vimy Ridge.
On Easter Monday in April, Canada marked the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. It is considered to the moment in History where Canada went from being just another British Colony, to a country in our own right. I would dearly love to be able to visit the Vimy Ridge Memorial, and Juno Beach in Normandy for that matter, Not just to pay my respects, but also to honour my own family heritage. My cousin Morag, a Sea King pilot and who has a tour of duty of the Persian Gulf on board of HMCS Winnipeg a few years ago on her resume, is the third generation of my family (that we know of) to serve in the Canadian Miltary. So, in my family, Remembrance Day is taken very, very, seriously.
If you have a dish and have History Television West as part of your programming, I can't reccomend what tonight's Vimy program was enough. It's coming on again at 11pm EST and 8pm in the West, or check your local listings if you're not sure. It's called Vimy Underground and is just unbelievable.
There's a tunnel/cave where the Forces stayed before the assult on Vimy and, as a way of passing the time/taking their mind off of what was to come, they carved the walls of the tunnel/cave. To say these carvings are exquisite, is an understatement!! There's Regmental Badges/Insignia, carvings of wives/girlfriends, profiles of a couple of sailors (which is explained in the show), a gorgeous schooner/maybe the Bluenose and it just goes on and on....The detail on some of the Regimental Insigina....It really has to be seen to be believed.
So, if you can catch it in about twenty minutes, do and would be a great thing to have as part of a tape/DVD collection to have on hand to pass it down to the next generation.
Last night's Vimy feature was also fascinating to watch. It's 1917 : The Missing and tells the story of how, through DNA Testing, the first Unknown Soldier of The First World War was able to be identified and his name given back to him. His reinternment was a part of the Ceremonies in the Vimy Ridge area on Easter Weekend.
Tomorrow night looks to be just as excellent and I won't be missing it. Amazing the things that come out though and you learn at times though. I thought Dad would love to see the carvings and hear the stories of how they came to be, so came upstairs and watched it w/him. About halfway though, he casually says "I wonder if Uncle Hugh's name is carved there?"
Mom says she's only seen my head whip around like that when there's a skating event on TV I stumble on to that I didn't know was on. I never knew I had a relative who fought at Vimy and Thank Goodness Dad said something. It's information like that we need in the family archives/records. I knew I had a Great Uncle who served in WWI, but not at Vimy!!
Needless to say, I'll be doing some online digging now.
Anyway...I just thought there might be some of my fellow Canadians who would be interested in catching tonight's programming and the rest of the week's as well. I just wish I'd thought of this last night, but I didn't.
And remember...On Sunday morning on the 11th hour, the 11th minute of the 11th day...Stop and remember!!
Lest We Forget