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Visiting the tunnels and trenches of Vimy Ridge, where Canadian men and boys, some as young as 14, stood in semi-darkness waiting for the call to fight on April 9, 1917. The towering white limestone Canadian memorial commemorates a victory, but Mother Canada bows her head too, in mourning, remembering the high cost. It’s hard not to be deeply affected.
The personal stories and gravestones. “If that doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, I don’t know what will,” we think reading the last letters home, and seeing graves marked with the inscription “A Soldier of the Great War. Known onto God.” The line that Rudyard Kipling, a war-grieved father himself, came up with to remember the graves of unknown soldiers, haunted me.
Wellington Quarries in Arras. Donning a British WWI army helmet and descending into a piece of history that I never knew about was an astounding experience.
Crossing the Baie de Somme on foot, walking nearly seven kilometres with guide Maxim Marzi at low tide, over an extraordinary, ever-changing landscape, from Le Crotoy, a sleepy seaside fishing port, to medieval Ste-Valery-sur-Somme. Our group—a family of four from France and our Canadian clan of five—followed Marzi up micro-cliffs, across salt meadows and wading into mud flats.
Why is is important to remember?
It’s important to remember all of the soldiers sacrifice they make for us to live saved.
What I remember most about my visit?
All the stories about WW1 they were sad but also cool to listen because we learned about all those awesome people’s stories.
WW1: I learned about a whole lot of new stuff on this trip about the First World War. It was all very interesting and gave some of the stuff we learned in school a new meaning. Seeing some battlefields and memorials and graveyards made it all more in a sense.
France, in general: I loved France. Everyone we met were super nice. I thought the towns and country were beautiful. They all had a different vibe than we have at home. They have very good food here too (and not just at fancy places either). The only weird thing is that you can get cheese for (or before as it’s own course) dessert, but that could just be because I don’t like cheese. All in all it was a great time.
What I think my hero felt I think Jack would have been scared of what he saw and was going to see. I imagine he was scared that he was going to die. He also probably felt great pride in fighting for his country.
What I learned about WW1
I learned that there were soldier from New Zeland in WW1 and that they were called Kiwis like the birds.
What I learned about my hero
I learned that Jack was put into the medical unit because he was a tailor. He worked with a needle and would be able to sew wounds.