Canada’s Veterans Affairs minister is condemning vandalism to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France.
In a statement, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, who is also the Associate Minister of National Defence, said she was “appalled” to hear of the vandalism.
“As all Canadians know, this is a sacred place commemorating the sacrifice of the 60,000 Canadians who gave their lives in order to protect the freedoms of the citizens of France and Belgium over 100 years ago during the First World War,” she said. “The memorial bears the names of those who died in France with no known grave and stands as a tribute to all Canadians who served during the First World War. It should inspire us to work toward lasting peace, for which those commemorated here gave their lives.”
The graffiti appeared on the memorial Tuesday, according to French local media.
Petitpas Taylor said the Canadian government is working with French authorities to aid in the investigation and find the person responsible.
“VAC officials are currently working with colleagues at Public Services and Procurement Canada and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to ensure that the graffiti is removed as soon as possible,” Petitpas Taylor said.
The Vimy Foundation said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it was “deeply disheartened” to learn about the vandalism.
“Such actions disrespect the memory of the 11,285 Canadians missing in France with no known grave, whose names are listed on the monument,” the post said.
The monument in Givenchy-en-Gohelle, France is dedicated to all Canadians who served during the First World War and bears the names of the more than 11,000 Canadians who died in France with no known grave.
It is built upon the site of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which began on April 9, 1917 and lasted three days. Canadian soldiers managed to win a major victory in the battle, but not without cost: 3,598 Canadians were killed and another 7,000 wounded.
The battle has been hailed as a major coming-of-age moment for the young country.
The French government ceded Vimy Ridge and the land surrounding it to Canada in 1922. The Vimy Memorial was first unveiled in 1936.
Source : Ottawa