Monday, March 19, 2007

No Red Ensign at the Vimy Ridge Memorial?

Update March 21: I've learned via the Flea that the Red Ensign will, in fact, fly at Vimy. Kudos to Harper for making such a statement. He may be enjoying his little vote-buying spending spree right now, but at least he's got a sense of history!

Nicolas alerted me to a most pressing issue, one that has my full attention:

It's the flag the Canadians carried into battle when they captured Vimy Ridge in 1917. And it's the flag that should be flying when thousands assemble at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial next month for the unveiling of the restored monument to mark the 90th anniversary of the battle, say members of a campaign to get the Red Ensign to Vimy Ridge for the ceremony.

Well well well, Captain Obvious has made an appearance! You would think the Red Ensign would be most welcome at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. After all, the Red Ensign was the flag that Canadian troops marched under during this crucial battle of World War One. You'd be wrong though. No Red Ensign here, folks. Move along.

...Veterans Affairs has told Mr. Bishop and Mr. Heyes, who both had grandfathers who fought in the First World War, there is no plan to fly the Red Ensign flag at Vimy.
The ceremony is a Canadian government event and will therefore feature only the Maple Leaf, they were told.

Leave it to the bureaucrats to forget our shared history and screw up the memorial to a battle that forged our nation.

Mr. Bishop said you can't change the fact that the Red Ensign was the flag under which Canadians fought. "You can't change history and it was so important to the First World War guys."

Mr. Bishop said that when he tells older people -- those who remember the Red Ensign -- that that flag doesn't fly at the Vimy memorial, they're always surprised. "It's part of our heritage," he said.

Mr. Bishop is absolutely correct. But don't you dare tell the Canadian government that:

The ceremony is a Canadian government event and will therefore feature only the Maple Leaf

I've written an email to the Vimy Memorial branch of Veterans Affairs, and I'd encourage you to as well.