Monday, April 09, 2012

You can still get a medal for going to Vimy?

Yes, actually.  General Rick Hillier says "all Canadians should make a pilgrimage to Vimy at least once," and the Vimy Foundation offers the Vimy Pilgrimage medal for those who do.  'Course you have to pay for it.

On this anniversary of the battle, April 9, 1917, I can't help noticing again the recurring use of the statement that Canada became a nation at Vimy. It's also frequently said Canada became a nation in the War of 1812, at responsible government in 1848, at Confederation in 1867, when the last spike was driven in 1885, at the Statute of Westminster in 1931, during the Second World War, and at Expo '67.

I can't believe covering Vimy in platitude really honours the day appropriately.

Update: Christopher J. Harvie, project director, If Ye Break Faith comments:
I can't help but to agree with your post on Vimy.  I've expounded this very same notion in my work; and by golly it's an unpopular thought.  People just don't like to have their perceptions challenged.  However, as an historian, I consider it obligatory to remain objective to the study.  I feel that since anything which could be defined as a "Canadian identity"  is fluid to contemporary conditions, ascribing it's genesis to one event in our history is incredibly short sighted, so I praise you for expressing this notion.
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