Given the recent developments in international travel bans linked to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Vimy Foundation, supported by program sponsors Scotiabank and Air Canada, has decided to postpone the 2020 Vimy Pilgrimage Award.
20 students from across Canada were selected for this year’s Vimy Pilgrimage Award. The prize recognizes the actions of young people who are dedicated to the betterment of society by demonstrating an outstanding commitment to volunteer work through positive contributions, notable deeds, or bravery benefiting their peers, school, community, province, or country.
The fully funded educational program usually takes place in Belgium and France in the week leading up to Vimy Ridge Day (April 9th). Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Vimy Foundation has decided to suspend its educational programs involving student travel to Europe for the immediate future. The 2020 Vimy Pilgrimage Award is, at present, postponed to a later date to be confirmed.
The Vimy Foundation values the safety and well-being of its program participants and their communities above all else.
In the years surrounding the end of the First World War, the Spanish flu claimed more lives than both World Wars combined. The pandemic nature of the flu was downplayed, in order to preserve wartime morale which resulted in individuals coming home to Canada sick or contagious.
Transparency and caution are key factors in avoiding the reoccurrence of a Spanish-flu-like global pandemic. The Vimy Foundation aims to keep its award recipients, their families, and their communities safe and to ensure that the actions of Canada’s past inform contemporary decision making in a constructive manner. взять деньги в долг на карту
The Vimy Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 Vimy Pilgrimage Award, sponsored by Scotiabank. This award recognizes the actions of young people who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to volunteer work through positive contributions, notable deeds, or bravery that benefits their peers, school, community, province, or country.
The Vimy Pilgrimage Award consists of a fully funded week-long educational program in Belgium and France to study Canada’s tremendous First World War effort. The program, scheduled for April 2–10, 2020 features daily visits to important First World War sites including museums, cemeteries, and historic battlefields, as well as participation in the Vimy Day commemoration ceremony at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.
20 students were selected from across Canada. We are so thankful to everyone who applied and appreciate your dedication to community service and your interest in Canadian history.
Congratulations to this year’s winners:
Hudson Bosch – Barrie, Ontario
Spencer Bubis – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Coralie Bureau – Victoriaville, Québec
Una Chang – Surrey, British Columbia
Charles-Édouard Corgier – Lachine, Québec
Daphné Dupuis – Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Alexandra Elmslie – Guelph, Ontario
Nahira Gerster-Sim – Vancouver, British Columbia
Elliott Grondin – Granby, Québec
Karen Guan – North York, Ontario
Sana Hashmat – Fredericton, New Brunswick
Katharine Kanters – Amaranth, Ontario
Linda Kemigisha – Edmonton, Alberta
Anna Kouao – Vankleek Hill, Ontario
Anuj Krishnan – Edmonton, Alberta
Ripdaman Malhans – Delta, British Columbia
Madison Moran – Brockville, Ontario
Alexina Nault – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Charlotte Schwartz – Ottawa, Ontario
Nazanin Soghrati – Richmond Hill, Ontario
Thank you to our lead sponsor Scotiabank for their generous support of the Vimy Pilgrimage Award. Scotiabank aims to support organizations that are committed to helping young people reach their infinite potential.
This program is also sponsored by Air Canada: The First World War is an important, strategic moment in Canadian history and Air Canada is proud to support our youth and tomorrow’s leaders by sponsoring the 2020 Vimy Pilgrimage Award, allowing 20 exceptional teenagers from across Canada to learn and remember.
In April 2019, I travelled to France and Belgium to experience First World War history with 19 youth from across Canada through the Vimy Pilgrimage Award program. My expectations were trepidatious. I never truly connected with Canadian history. The experiences of Black and other racialized people are typically either ignored or offered as a fragmented side-note of incomplete trauma and superficial reconciliation. History was a confusing, bitter, and often painful subject for me.
The VPA helped me find a new meaning. As we toured monuments, museums, and cemeteries, I was able to see, touch, and feel the past. But most of all, I was able to do it through a lens of Blackness with Private Aubrey Mitchell and Private Vincent Carvery.
We’re not related, and they died over 100 years ago. But over the week, they became family.
War was for the White man. Yet these Black men chose to serve in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. I grappled to understand the racism, the trauma they endured, but most of all, the humanity they exhibited in the face of it all.
This was a journey. It was filled with laughter and new friendships, but also pain and vulnerability as I asked questions of myself and of history that I had never known to ask. And as I learned the stories of Aubrey and Vincent, I learned more about my own, too.
I come from a legacy of resilience. And though they may not talk about Canada’s Black Battalion in textbooks or films, I will always know their names and I will always remember the place in history they carved for me—a place that I will not let be taken away.
To my fellow participants, thank you for reminding me what community feels like. Thank you for letting me draw on your strength. Thank you for walking this journey alongside me.
To the chaperones and the Vimy Foundation, thank you for giving me the space to ask the questions I needed to ask and feel what I needed to feel.
And to Aubrey and Vincent. You give me strength. Strength to face a world that I sometimes feel wasn’t made for me. Strength to continue to make space for myself and others where there wasn’t before. Strength to be Black, despite any and every thing. I am so proud to have ancestors like you.
After two incredible weeks of learning, our Beaverbrook Vimy Prize participants said their goodbyes and flew home. For the last blog entry, we asked each of them to describe their program experience in one sentence. (Please note: students will blog in their language of preference).
Sûrement la plus belle expérience de ma vie, partager le goût de l’histoire, de la réflexion et de la mémoire avec des personnes aussi exceptionnelles a été une formidable aventure qui me marquera à jamais.
– Alliya Arifa
Le Prix Vimy Beaverbrook a profondément marqué ma manière d’aborder et de comprendre l’histoire et le monde dans toute son humanité et inhumanité, ce fut une expérience généreuse de connaissance, de créativité et d’amitié qui fut l’une des plus épanouissantes de ma vie.
– Andelina Habel-Thurton
Visiter tous ces sites m’a permis de visualiser et de trouver une compréhension plus profonde de ce qui s’est déroulé ici, il y a plus de 100 ans; j’ai beaucoup appris, le programme a été une expérience que je n’oublierai jamais.
– Andréa Jackson
The past two weeks have been the most transformational days of my entire life, and I cannot express how grateful I am for being given the opportunity to make this pilgrimage which I once thought I could only dream of.
– Evan Di Cesare
Le prix Vimy Beaverbrook a été pour moi une expérience incroyable m’ayant apporté nouvelles connaissances et rencontres inoubliables.
– Florence Trigaux
Le Prix Vimy Beaverbrook m’a donné une nouvelle perspective sur le monde qui m’entoure, sur le passé comme le présent, en m’enseignant entre autres le devoir de commémoration et la réflexion critique, tout en me donnant la possibilité de partager des moments incroyables avec des personnes uniques.
– Isaac St-Jean
Bringing the memories back home to Canada of those who never had the chance to realize their dreams has been an invaluable experience and something I will never forget.
– Jack Roy
The Beaverbrook Vimy Prize has been a hugely transformative experience in helping build me into a far more analytical, thoughtful historian and embedding within me the desire to preserve the memory of the World Wars and the heroic fallen soldiers.
– Lily Maguire
This program has not just been a once in a lifetime experience, but also an incredible educational journey through time, I will remember all that I have learned here throughout my life.
– Nathan Yee
The Beaverbrook Vimy Prize Program has taught me to think critically about history and to understand the experiences of those in the past by immersing myself in the environment in which they occurred.
– Nimra Hooda
These last two weeks have defied all my expectations,I can’t even begin to describe how much I have learned, I am very grateful for this amazing opportunity.
– Noah Korver
The Beaverbrook Vimy Prize has been an amazing experience during which I have learned so much about the scale and impact of the wars on Canada and the rest of the world, and also about myself.
– Maya Burgess-Stanfield
I believe in the power of historical records; however, this program has taught me that human experiences are irreplaceable: life is more than the breath that we take, it is those special moments of growth that take my breath away – and this program has left me utterly breathless.
– Meaghan Bulger
My BVP experience was more wonderful and beneficial than I could possibly have imagined: between the experiences of seeing historic sites in person and talking with local civilians and veterans, I have gained so many invaluable experiences and memories from this program.
– Phillip Darley
I am incredibly grateful for this experience through which I have stepped outside of my comfort zone to learn about memory and interconnections between both World Wars, our present and our future, all the while making amazing connections along the way.
– Rose He
The BVP was, in a word, life-changing: I have gained new perspectives from my fellow participants, chaperones and visiting the battlefields.
For the last day of the program, the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize recipients participated in the commemoration of the 77th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid. On this occasion the students met with veterans, laid wreaths, and read the Commitment to Remember. They finished the day with one final group discussion to close the program in the gardens of le Château de Versailles. (Please note: students will blog in their language of preference).
L’opportunité de lire la Promesse de se Souvenir au Cimetière des Vertus de Dieppe a été une expérience que je n’oublierai jamais. Lorsque que je lisais le texte, j’ai eu l’impression que je représentais tout le Canada, et même tous les pays qui se sont battus pour la liberté pendant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Cela m’a fait sentir très fier et incroyablement honoré de pouvoir participer de cette façon à la cérémonie annuelle de commémoration du Raid de Dieppe.
La cérémonie au mémorial de guerre canadien – Square du Canada – a aussi été un point culminant du programme pour moi. Contrairement à la première cérémonie, Sophie et moi avons accompagné un vétéran de la marine royale britannique, lorsqu’il a placé une couronne au mémorial. Ce qui m’a impressionné, c’est qu’Alfred, le vétéran, ait voulu partager le moment avec de jeunes étudiants.
– Phillip Darley
Today, we visited the iconic Château de Versailles where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919. As we sat in the grass of the beautiful gardens, we had a wonderful discussion and reflection on the program. In my opinion, the best way to learn about history is to be surrounded by people who are passionate about the subject and by experiences and activities that help you to understand more than just the surface of a topic. This program has allowed me to be around amazing students who are all so passionate about history and teachers who are all so good at engaging each and every one of us. Our discussions throughout the program not only encouraged me to view historical events in new ways, but also to look at my life in new ways. One of the reasons I study history and am so interested in it is because it helps me to understand people today and history helps me to understand the world through learning from different perspectives. The Beaverbrook Vimy Prize program has allowed me to realize that the wars have affected countless lives and that the numbers that we study in a classroom are more than just numbers.
Today, our BVP recipients headed to the cliffs of Dieppe where Florence and Alliya presented on military geography and its impact on war. In the evening, the students participated in the candlelight vigil at the Dieppe Canadian Cemetery. (Please note: students will blog in their language of preference).
Il paraît qu’il n’est de bon stratège et tacticien sans la connaissance et la maîtrise du lieu. C’est en tout cas ce que disait le maréchal Foch avant la Première Guerre mondiale. J’ai aujourd’hui fait ma présentation à Dieppe avec Florence avec comme problématique : ‘’Comment le paysage physique a influencé les campagnes militaires ?’’. Durant la Première et Seconde Guerre mondiale, la prise en compte et l’étude des terrains et du paysage géographique était un élément majeur. Sur les falaises qui entourent Dieppe, j’ai réalisé que c’était un atout majeur pour les soldats allemands de les occuper et de les fortifier durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, car ils avaient une vue sur une grande partie de la plage et sur la mer. Lorsque nous sommes allés à la plage, j’ai pu constater que non seulement elle n’était pas faite de sable, mais qu’en plus les galets qui la formaient rendaient le terrain très glissant et la marche vraiment bruyante. Ces quelques facteurs montrent que la plage de Dieppe devait être très difficile d’accès pour les Alliés et que le terrain et les reliefs étaient un désavantage certain pour eux. Il suffit parfois d’une guerre pour avoir de meilleures informations sur la géographie d’un pays.
Today, while on the cliffs above Dieppe, we organized a ‘’raid’’, which involved determining a landing spot and creating a strategic plan. We were given only certain information and I realized how the Allies were working with incomplete intelligence of the German defence. Planning an effective raid, both in capturing targets and preventing loss of life, was extremely difficult. This changed my perspective on Dieppe, as previously I had seen it as a senseless slaughter ordered by incompetent officers. Now, I understand that while Dieppe was a slaughter, it was not senseless; many lessons were learned that made the Normandy Landings, or D-Day, successful. Historical bias, which is using what we know in the present to evaluate the past, affected my view of Dieppe. There were many factors the generals could not anticipate. Being aware of historical bias can ensure we see history fairly, and that despite the terrible fate of the 907 Canadians who lost their lives at Dieppe, we see their sacrifice as contributing to the end of the Second World War.
A seemingly endless row of unlit candles lined the street of the entrance to the Dieppe Canadian Cemetery. As we entered the grounds surrounding the final resting place of so many Canadians who died in the raid on Dieppe in 1942, I couldn’t help but feel sorrow for what they had to endure. The opportunity for us to participate in the Candlelight ceremonies tonight strengthened my conviction that remembering the horrors of war must continue to be passed down to us as youth. As we walked in front of the stone of remembrance, I envisioned the soldiers who 77 years ago landed on those deadly beaches. Ceremonies like this give us the chance to remember because they create moments of reflection. As the ceremony came to a close and our group walked out of the cemetery, the unlit candles now burned brightly. Each one honoured the fallen of that day. 77 years later, lest we forget.
Today, our BVP2019 recipients toured Juno Beach Centre with guide extraordinaire Louis Lebel. In the afternoon, they visited Pointe-du-Hoc American Memorial where Isaac and Andréa presented on technology in world wars. The day finished back at Juno Beach for Jack and Nimra’s presentation on the environmental impacts of war. (Please note: students will blog in their language of preference).
J’attendais la visite au Centre Juno Beach depuis le début du programme. Lors de la visite, j’ai été particulièrement touchée par l’une des vidéos que nous avons visionnées. Cette dernière décrivait les horreurs de la guerre et les cicatrices que celle-ci a laissées dans le temps. Le bruit des explosions et la faible luminosité me donnait vraiment l’impression d’y être. Ce film m’a énormément rejoint, car j’ai pu m’identifier à ces jeunes soldats. En effet, certains avaient mon âge lorsqu’ils se sont engagé dans l’armée. Je me suis rendue compte de la chance que nous avions de vivre une enfance sans bataille, dans un pays libre qui n’a pas été détruit par les affres de la guerre. Les images m’ont fait prendre conscience que la survie d’un soldat ne se traduisait que par un coup de chance. Certaines photos ont présenté des prisonniers de Gaspé. Étant moi-même de cette région du Québec, j’ai ressenti un élan de respect pour ces hommes qui s’étaient sacrifiés.
– Florence Trigaux
Aujourd’hui à Pointe-du-Hoc, Andréa et moi avons donné une présentation sur l’utilisation de la technologie dans la guerre. La discussion de groupe qui s’en suivit eu pour sujet le jugement rétrospectif. Entre autres cas, la prise de la Pointe-du-Hoc par les Américains demande une remise en question. De nombreux points de vue sont mis de l’avant concernant la nécessité de cet assaut qui a causé de nombreuses pertes. Or, il faut considérer les différentes perceptions du passé, qu’elles proviennent d’historiens ou du public. On questionne régulièrement l’utilité et la justification de tels événements lors de leur analyse. Pourtant, je crois qu’il serait plus pertinent d’aborder l’impossibilité d’avoir une opinion non-biaisée d’un événement historique dans son contexte.
Les événements passés, se sont produits dans des circonstances difficiles à juger de l’extérieur. Qui sommes-nous pour former des opinions définitives sur une histoire à laquelle nous n’avons pas participé, malgré nos connaissances de cette époque? Voilà pourquoi je crois qu’il ne faut pas questionner la nécessité d’actes historiques; il faut plutôt les analyser tout en tenant compte des nombreux éléments liés à leur déroulement.
– Isaac St-Jean
At the Juno Beach Centre, I gained a better understanding of the diversity of experiences during the Second World War. On display is an exhibit which tells the stories of women during the war. Some were nurses, some were part of the resistance, and others were spies. People often choose to focus on remembering their own fallen or the sacrifices of certain groups. In the past few days, we have been learning more about the treatment of different groups of people during the war and how this treatment often carried on after the war. I believe it is crucial to recognize and appreciate the experiences and sacrifices of all people during the war, recognizing all experiences allows us to understand how the war altered the lives of diverse groups during the conflict and changed our society as a whole. It is important to know that people, such as women, contributed and lost as much as those who are typically remembered. It is also important to question why some groups of people are not remembered in the same way as others and work towards properly commemorating them.
Today the students took over social media duties while transferring to the coast and visited sites such as Amiens, Bény-sur-Mer, and l’Abbaye d’Ardennes.(Please note: students will blog in their language of preference).
Un homme qui s’occupait de chevaux derrière un cimetière militaire est venu à notre rencontre. À cet instant, je ne savais pas que je recevrais un témoignage d’une immense sagesse.
Cet homme âgé dont je n’ai pas eu l’honneur de connaître le nom, son père et son grand-père avaient tout trois vécu les guerres mondiales, la propagande et l’invasion allemande. Et tout de même, dans leur famille, depuis trois générations, rien de moins que le respect est attendu de leur part face aux Allemands. Chez eux, le mot « boche » était proscrit: « Nous nous battions pour notre pays et ils se battaient pour le leur. »
Ses mots exempts de rancune, mots de guérison et de compréhension m’ont marqués et m’ont inspiré, car cet homme et son père, malgré avoir vu leur village détruit, ont priorisé leurs valeurs de respect et d’humanité. J’ai alors compris que ces choses avaient le pouvoir de survivre à la destruction. Elles permettent aussi la reconstruction nécessaire au retour du quotidien. J’ai enfin réalisé la force morale qu’il fallait pour ressortir de la guerre et son importance.
Cet homme marquant et généreux maintient la paix ambiente autour du cimetière par respect pour les pèlerins et les soldats qui y réposent, tel un gardien des valeurs de son grand-père.
The Amiens Cathedral is an architectural marvel. As I explored it, I understood why both the Allied forces as well as the Germans tried so hard to keep it safe during the First World War. I could see clearly why this cathedral was specifically chosen to be kept intact as many solders were religious and felt strong ties with places where they could pray for their own safety during battles. For the citizens, the cathedrals were places they could go to after the war to mourn their loved ones as well as return to a sense of normalcy. This cathedral really tied all the points from our First World War discussions together, it showed how people still moved on with their lives despite the devastation of war, and it, like other monuments, helped pass down history through generations.
Today we visited many fascinating places that further instilled in me a passion for maintaining the legacy and memory of fallen soldiers. Whilst visiting the stunning Beny-sur-Mer Canadian Cemetery, I found that the area created an enhanced sense of personnalisation, be it from the increasingly detailed epitaphs from loved ones, mismatched flowers in an array of colours, or pristine dog tags with photos of the soldiers slung over many headstones. This made my experience more emotive here than at the First World War cemeteries. I gained a sense that the cemetery had been carefully constructed to focus on individual commemoration, with multiple benches at the sides of the rows of headstones and a viewing platform to allow an overview of the site. It was very powerful and added a personal connection to the sometimes desensitising, endless rows of names. I felt the cemetery gave me the space to sit quietly, visualising the vibrant personalities of the many soldiers whilst being aware of how lucky we are to be present, experiencing the simplicities of nature taken too early from those killed in the Second World War.
On this last day of the First World War portion of the #BVP2019 program, the students visited the Canadian National Vimy Memorial where they were met by Peter Kraven and Jean-Pierre Godbout to discuss the design and restoration of the memorial. Later in the day, the students visited the Vimy Centennial Park and then were guided through their exploration of the Maison Blanche underground tunnels by the Durand Group. (Please note: students will blog in their language of preference).
At Maison Blanche, our guide’s presentation about Aleck Ambler’s First World War experience in the souterrain was very touching. I cannot imagine how profound Ambler’s son’s experience must have been, visiting his father’s engravings for the first time at age 84, ninety years after their creation. Standing on the exact spot where Aleck Ambler originally engraved his art, then where his son visited the same engravings, made me feel like I was somehow a tiny part of the Ambler family story. I was impressed at how detailed Ambler’s inscriptions were, the act of crafting those carvings struck me as being a heartfelt display of care for his craft.
The engravings served as a poignant reminder that many other artists died during the war and were never able to express themselves again. Their art is especially meaningful to me as it demonstrates the ubiquity of creativity, even during times of conflict and strife. Despite seeing some of the worst in humanity during the First World War, beauty in art can persist and thrive, as exemplified by the extraordinary engravings made by soldiers underground.
– Phillip Darley
Seeing the Canadian National Vimy Memorial tower over the landscape was a surreal experience. I wondered about the many lives that had been lost and felt guilt. Out of over 11,000 names engraved on the monument, I only really knew the story of one: Reay MacKay. The first time I saw his name was on a memorial at his high school, standing where he stood over a hundred years ago. Back then, I had no idea who he was, nor did I know of his sacrifice. The second time I saw his name, I was reading the war diaries of his battalion, where I learned about the circumstances of his death and then gradually learned more about his life. Today, this journey has culminated with me standing on the land that he led his company to capture, where he sacrificed his life.
His remains will never return but by taking an etching of his name back to his high school, I hope to bring his memory back to his hometown.
– Rose He
Aujourd’hui, j’ai rendu hommage à mon soldat. En le présentant devant sa pierre tombale et son endroit de repos, j’ai compris son histoire et établi un lien émotionnel avec lui. Je ne l’ai pas connue personnellement, pourtant je ne l’oublierai jamais. Lorsque j’ai lu ma lettre qui lui était adressée, j’ai senti que je lui parlais en personne.
En créant ce lien avec mon soldat, j’ai réalisé l’impact que cette guerre avait, non seulement sur ceux qui ont perdus la vie, mais aussi pour tous ceux qui leurs étaient liés émotionnellement. Au cimetière Neuville St Vaast, j’ai été surprise par le nombre de croix. Je sentais que les soldats m’entouraient. En remarquant les quatre noms sur chacune des croix, j’ai réalisé à quel point cette guerre était dévastatrice pour tous. Le nombre de personnes affectées par la Première Guerre mondiale est beaucoup plus élevé que je l’avais d’abord cru, car nous ne rappelons pas toujours ceux qui étaient liés aux soldats, comme celui que j’ai présenté. Cette guerre n’était pas seulement dévastatrice en termes de pertes de vie, mais aussi pour tous ceux qui ont attendu en vain le retour à la maison de leurs proches après la guerre.
Today, our participants visited the Ring of Remembrance and Notre-Dame-de-Lorette French military Cemetery where they had the opportunity to converse with veterans. In the afternoon, they discussed racism during the wars at the Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial and visited Hill 70 Memorial. (Please note: students will blog in their language of preference).
When talking about the World Wars people often talk about how Canada was fighting for freedom and equality for all. What often goes unspoken, however, is how many of theses ideals that Canada was supposedly defending were often only applied to select groups, mainly white Canadians of European descent. I was lucky enough to give a presentation about how this selective application of Canadian values has impacted minority communities. By presenting these stories at Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial and learning about so many people, including thousands of Japanese Canadians who were interned makes me reflect on reconciliation and about who memorials are dedicated to. The first step to reconciliation is recognition and by presenting my research today, it is my hope that our group has taken that step. The creation of permanent monuments could help this process by creating prominent, public reminders of the suffering experienced by minority communities during the First and Second World Wars. Would these be more effective forms of recognition than an official statement? These injustices can never be erased but awareness of them should become a larger part of our collective consciousness.
Aujourd’hui, nous sommes allés au cimetière Britannique du Bois-Carré où j’ai présenté mon soldat. J’ai ressenti une connexion profonde avec lui pendant et après cette expérience. Tout comme moi, le soldat que j’ai choisi, James McBride, est originaire de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard. Mon lien d’amitié avec l’une de ses descendantes m’a permis de recueillir une grande quantité d’informations auprès de sa famille. Je suis très touchée d’avoir eu la chance d’aborder son passé avec eux.
Durant ma présentation, j’ai eu une réaction très émotive. Je pensais aux succès des descendantes de James. Aussi, j’ai pris un moment pour prier. Je ne suis pas une personne très religieuse, mais, je ressens une connexion avec James, car il était Catholique, comme moi. J’ai pris quelques minutes afin de prier pour lui et aussi le remercier pour ses actions durant la guerre. Par la suite, j’ai beaucoup pleuré. J’ai dû prendre un bon moment pour me recomposer, mais après réflexion, je pense qu’aujourd’hui, j’ai vécu une expérience très profonde. Je suis honorée d’avoir eu la chance de rendre hommage à James et d’avoir pu préserver sa mémoire.
In between the rows at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette – the French National First World War memorial – there were multiple mass graves. Although we have previously seen mass graves, these ones specifically hit a more emotional note. In a sense, seeing the bodies and not the names allowed me to put myself in the place of the compatriots and families of the fallen and feel the pain and confusion they must have felt when they learned that they would never get a chance to visit their loved ones’ graves and pay respect to them.
At the Ring of Remembrance, I really appreciated the monument architecturally. The simplicity of the names allows me to appreciate the human element of war, rather than focusing on the political, as is usually done in school and learning the history of the wars. To me, the circular shape felt like a symbol for how the loss and pain from the war were felt around the globe, regardless of nationality. I believe that the memorial effectively acknowledges that all families feel an equal sense of loss.