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Canadian History Lesson

Written on: Sunday March 18th, 2007

A journal entry from: Rouen Exchange

As true Canadians, mom, dad and I headed to Vimy ridge.  This coming April, there is a large, planned ceremony to reveal the new momument that has been under construction for some time now.  Luckily, it had been uncovered so we could see it (just not go very close). Vimy was incredible.  There are tunnels that were dug during the war as a way to spy on the enemy, move ammunition up front as well as for destoying the enemy's lines.  Normally, these tunnels are closed in the winter months but Canadians are allowed to see them year round - lucky us!  The area around Vimy was really interesting to see.  There were large crator holes everywhere that have been left since the war. 

The following day, after a night spent in the beautiful port city of Honfleur (where Jaques Cartier left from when he came to discover Canada), we visited the D-Day beaches.  Juno beach, to be more specific.  The Canadian veterans have done a great job at creating an informative museum at this beach.  We were able to learn about what Canada was like before the war, their involvement in the war as well as other interesting tidbits.  For example, I didn't even know that conscription was used.  In fact, 16,000 soldiers were recruited this way.  As well, prior to the war, Canada had next to no airforce.  After WWII ended, they had the fourth largest airforce in the world. 

For those of you wondering, Vimy Ridge was part of WWI - a great Canadian victory.  D-Day beaches were WWII - considered to be the turning point of the war.  The cost of D-Day: around 5000 men(for the whole normandy campaign, 340 day of); Vimy: about 3600 men (over the 4 days of the attack).