It may have been fought a century ago, but the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the sacrifices thousands of Canadian soldiers made or were prepared to make are still remembered and respected in Regina.
It was evident on Sunday in the Queen City, as hundreds turned out to a number of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Vimy.
The biggest events were held at the Cenotaph in Victoria Park and in front of the Saskatchewan Legislature. Dozens of troops marched as bagpipes played, accompanied by drums. A fly-by from 15 Wing Moose Jaw shot across a blue afternoon sky. Trumpets sounded The Last Post.
Gerry Moen was at both the park in the morning and the legislature in the afternoon.
“I just kept thinking of my dad,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Her father, Leonard James Chase, fought at Vimy. His duty was to repair and prepare railway lines a few miles behind the main attack. Moen said she can picture her dad in his uniform, constantly being bombarded as he attempted to complete his mission.
“Dad was 25 when he went … they were children,” she said in disbelief.
Moen said her father survived Vimy and eventually returned home safely from the war, although he didn’t talk much about his experiences, which was not uncommon among soldiers. Chase kept a diary in France, often talking about the weather. It was also something he had no problem discussing when he arrived back in Canada. Moen said that’s one of the first things that comes to mind when she thinks of her dad.
“That’s the one thing he did mention: how cold it was and how it muddy it was, how dirty it was.”
While Moen wanted to be over in France at the memorial, as she’s been multiple times before, the 86-year-old revealed she can’t handle those long trips anymore.
“My heart was there,” she said, referring to Vimy.
She was pleased to see a group of children singing as part of the ceremony at the legislature. It’s this new generation learning about Canada’s history that makes difficult days like these a little more tolerable for Moen.
“People are remembering. To me, that was the most important thing, that more and more people are remembering the First World War.”