Friday, November 8, 2013

VETERAN'S WEEK

Each year, from November 5 to 11, Canadians join together to celebrate Veteran's Week. During this week, hundreds of commemorative ceremonies and events will take place across the country to recognize the achievements of our Veterans and honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The year 2013 marks the 95th anniversary of the end of the First World War. At the beginning of 1918, the conflict had been raging for almost three and a half years and the front lines in France and Belgium had moved little since the opening months of the fighting. Both the Allies and the Germans had repeatedly tried to launch major offensives to break the stalemate but had failed. In the spring of that year, however, the Germans launched an offensive that saw them advance to within 70 kilometres of Paris before they were stopped.

On August 8, 1918, the Allies hit back and launched the Battle of Amiens. The Canadians were at the spearhead of this attack which saw a major breakthrough on what one enemy commander would call "the black day of the German Army." The Allies seized the momentum and continued the pressure. Our soldiers would be called on to lead the way in victory after victory during the series of battles fought in the late summer and fall of 1918 that came to be known as "Canada's Hundred Days."

The Canadians fought courageously through the Hindenberg Line, across the Canal du Nord and into Cambrai, before finding themselves in Mons, Belgium, on November 11, 1918 - the day the Armistice that finally ended the fighting in the First World War went into effect. Their success came at a high price, however, with more than 6,800 Canadian Soldiers being killed and approximately 39,000 wounded during the last three months of the conflict.