An idea brewed over a morning cup of coffee in Williams Lake, B.C. has resulted in a national virtual remembrance effort to mark the 103rd anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 2020.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, Army Capt. Billie Sheridan, member of the Canadian Forces and Commanding Officer of 3064 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, said they were wondering what could be done to hold a service and maintain social distancing.
Sheridan told Black Press Media Saturday that army, sea and air cadets across the country will dress up in uniform, light a candle and observe two minutes of silence at 8 p.m. on April 9th.
“They will then take a selfie or have someone take a photo of them and then post it to their squadron Facebook page with the hashtag #remembervimy,” Sheridan said.
They and their 16-year-old son Sean will be participating also.
Sheridan said it’s the old adage of “you tell two people and they tell two people” as to why the idea has taken off nationally.
When they told Captain Melissa Calcagno, zone training officer in Prince George. about it and Cathy Bach, national president of the Army Cadet League of Canada earlier in the week by Thursday, National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa approved it.
“What started in Williams Lake has gone national,” Sheridan said, noting they heard now that Canadian Rangers in Quesnel are going to participate and Legionnaires in the Cariboo.
Every participant has also been encouraged to submit their photos to National Defence’s Facebook page.
Sheridan said Vimy Ridge was when Canada came of age.
“We were still classified as being a dominion and Vimy Ridge was when the entire Canadian Army came together as one force,” they explained.
Canada did something neither the British or French armies could have done, they added.
“We captured the ridge. Both Britain and France tried several times and Canada did it on her first try and succeeded. It was the start of our independence.”
Sheridan has been with the corps since Sept 2010, and has been Commanding Officer since May 2016.
Sean had the honour of going to Vimy Ridge on a cadet trip two years ago.