OTTAWA, Nov. 9, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, issued the following statement today regarding the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele.
"The Battle of Passchendaele is a significant milestone in Canada's proud military heritage. Our country's sacrifices and ultimate triumph further added to the growing reputation of our soldiers as the premier offensive fighting force on the Western Front.
"In the fall of 1917, Canada's army, after their great success at Vimy Ridge that April, was sent north to Belgium. It would be familiar ground for the Canadians who had seen harsh fighting there earlier in the war.
"After more than two weeks of grueling attacks in the face of heavy enemy fire, the Canadian Corps captured the ruined village of Passchendaele and the surrounding ridge, with the muddy battle finally drawing to an end on November 10. The price would be high, as more than 4,000 Canadian soldiers lost their lives and 12,000 were wounded.
"The sacrifices and achievements of those who gave so much in the effort to restore peace and freedom will never be forgotten. Fighting at Passchendaele took great bravery. Nine Canadians earned the Victoria Cross, the highest award for military valour a Canadian can earn, in the battle.
"We mark this anniversary by remembering the heroic efforts of those who fought. We must honour the contributions men and women in uniform have made and continue to make in defending Canada's values of freedom and democracy. Today, we remember the Battle of Passchendaele."
For more information on the Battle of Passchendaele, please visit veterans.gc.ca.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada