Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Friday, December 27, 2019

Canadian Bugler Monument at Vimy Ridge

At Vimy Ridge

Even a year after the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, I'm discovering information on some of the commemorative events that took place at that time. The image above is of a statue of a Canadian bugler that was dedicated at Vimy Ridge on 9 November 2018. It is a duplicate of a statue standing at Camp Borden, now known as Canadian Forces Borden, near the city of Barrie in Ontario.The statues are products of the Borden Legacy Project.  Here is the story of their endeavor in their own words.

Camp Borden was founded in 1916, training nearly 50,000 soldiers for service in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. For many of those soldiers, their first action was during the Battle of Arras (1917) and specifically the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

In 2016 CFB Borden celebrated its centennial year, and through the enduring partnership of the Base, the City of Barrie and the surrounding communities, the Borden Legacy Monument, the first bugler, was erected to mark the occasion. Unveiled on 9 June  by PM Trudeau, with Mayor Leturque, the mayor of Arras, contributing to our ceremony.

The Borden Legacy Project began in 2014, and in June 2015 sacred soil was removed from the battlefield at Vimy Ridge and repatriated to Canada. This soil symbolically holds the DNA of all those fallen and wounded in the 1917 battle.

This was one of the important steps that saw the creation of Borden Legacy Park—three distinct pieces that serve to commemorate our past and inspire the future. First, a white-and-black granite wall, a tribute and inspiration to each and every member of the Canadian Armed Forces that passes through our gates. Etched into the main wall is a powerful tribute to all past and current serving Canadian Armed Forces members: Through these gates the sons a daughters of a grateful nation pass – serving Canada with Honour, Duty, and Courage, so that all may live with Freedom, Democracy, and Justice.

The wall also encases an urn, in which the sacred soil is held. The promise of General Sir Arthur Currie to his troops is etched into the wall that holds the soil and reads: To those who fall I say: you will not die, but step into immortality. Your mothers will not lament your fate, but will be proud to have borne such sons. Your names will be revered forever and ever by your grateful country, and God will take you unto himself.

At Borden Legacy Park

The second piece of the park is the restored WWI trenches that were used to train infantry soldiers before their departure to the Western Front. Connected to the Legacy Wall via a short wooded trail, these trenches are a reminder of the importance of training, and the conditions of the First World War.

Finally, a bronze bugler stands in the park, calling to his companions, calling visitors to the monument, and calling to the now-empty trenches that once trained soldiers before they left for battle overseas.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a second bugler was created, and was donated to the Vimy Foundation, to stand in the shadow of Walter Allward’s magnificent monument. The Twin Bugler stood in the Hotel de Ville in the city of Arras until the 2018 Armistice commemoration at Vimy Ridge..

Sources: Information and photos provided by CFB Borden

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