This morning, our VPA 2019 recipients arrived in Brussels and visited the Atonium. Later, they travelled to Messines on the Ypres Salient. After getting settled in, the recipients were introduced to the program and participated in some ice-breaker activities. Read more about what they are most looking forward to during the program.
(Please note: participants will blog in their mother tongue.)
J’ai extrêmement hâte à la visite du cimetière britannique à Caix, car c’est là que mon arrière grand-oncle, Henri Plouffe, est enterré. J’ai aussi très hâte à tous les nouvelles interactions que je vais avoir avec mes co-étudiants.
Aidan Hupé, Whitehorse YK
I am extremely excited to visit the Courcellette Memorial and learn more about this battle which I have a connection to. I researched about a soldier who died at this battle, and it will be interesting to learn more about it, so I can understand the conditions he fought and died in.
David Pugh, Brantford ON
After carefully considering all of the amazing events planned for this pilgrimage, I would have to say that the most moving and life changing event would probably be visiting the cemetery. For me, the opportunity to see the actual location of the soldier I researched and developed a connection with will be very moving and inspirational.
Declan Sander, Lethbridge AB
It was an excellent experience to be initially introduced to all my fellow Vimy Pilgrims. The part of this experience that I am most excited for is to hear my fellow pilgrims read out their soldier tributes at the various battle fields in the coming days.
Eric Weidmann, Fort Saskatchewan AB
Je suis très heureuse parce qu’aujourd’hui, j’ai rencontré tout le monde. Je suis très excité car dans ces prochains jours, nous allons entendre les biographies des soldats créées par les participants du programme.
Brooke Glazier, North Vancouver BC
I am really looking forward to being at the Vimy Ridge memorial on its anniversary. Since I was young, I would always read and see pictures of it and always wanted to visit. It’s hard to believe that I will not only be there in a few days but on its anniversary!
Cassandra Gillen, Pointe-Claire QC
Although we were all extremely jet lagged, I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting Canadians from coast to coast today in Quebec, learning about our shared values as well as the ins and outs of our communities. This week, I look forward to connecting with young leaders across the country, continuing to learn about one another as well as the important history of the First World War through interactive visits and presentations.
David He, Burnaby BC
As a minority in Canada, the First World War never truly felt like my history. As I did more research with the Vimy Pilgrimage Program, however, I discovered a new truth. I am looking forward to further exploring the stories of Black Canadians in the First World War and discovering more of the ways that this story is mine too.
Keneisha Charles, Kelowna BC
I am very eager to make new friends and expand my knowledge of the First World War. I am looking forward to paying my respects to many Canadians who largely contributed to Canada’s war effort. This is truly an amazing opportunity, I hope to apply what I learn and experience to my future studies.
Gillian Huppee, Foam Lake SK
After my first day here, I am very excited for what is yet to come. With the experiences that I will gain from my time here, as well as the knowledge that I will soon attain about the First World War.
Elizabeth Gagné, Regina SK
Although I am very jet-lagged, I’m ever more grateful to all our chaperones and the Vimy Foundation for making this program possible. I look forward to exploring Canada’s First World War history first-hand, “on-the-field” at the Ypres Salient tomorrow! It will be such an eye-opening experience!
Joon Sohn, Surrey BC
I have had two flights, not enough sleep, and I am so tired but I know it’s all worth what we will be seeing this week. I can’t tell you one thing I’m looking forward to because there are so many things I can’t wait to see. I guess one important one to me besides Vimy is the Christmas day truce memorial. I learned about it in my elementary school and want to learn more about it from this program.
Andrew Poirier, York (Hamlet of) ON
Une des choses que j’ai vraiment hâte est d’apprendre sur le terrain, sur les champs de bataille. J’ai hâte de voir c’est quoi la sensation perçue lorsque le passé est aussi réel et présent autour de nous. J’ai aussi très hâte d’apprendre comment commémorer en groupe, comment jouer de concert avec un groupe d’étudiants qui devient de moins en moins inconnu sur un sujet aussi émouvant.
Emma Roy, Ste-Sophie QC
After spending weeks researching the lives of two selfless soldiers, I am excited to present their tributes to pay my respects. I also hope to learn more about Canada’s effort during the First World War and am eager to visit the historic sites that bring the nation’s history to life.
Navjot Khaira, Surrey BC
Ce sera un honneur d’avoir l’occasion de reconnaitre le sacrifice des soldats canadiens de la Grande Guerre. J’ai particulièrement hâte de visiter le Mémorial de Vimy, pour sa grande signification pour le Canada, et d’en apprendre plus sur les conditions de vie dans les tranchées. J’espère ressortir de cette expérience avec une vision plus claire de la Première Guerre mondiale et de ses effets sur notre société.
Rosalie Gendron, Lévis QC
I am very jet lagged and tired, but am already having an amazing experience. I am most looking forward to visit Vimy Ridge. Standing in the same places as Canadian soldiers did in war, but to do it in peacetime will be an incredible experience.
Katie Clyburne, Halifax NS
I hope to make lots of new friends on this journey as well as learn more on the history of the First World War. I have had a wonderful time so far as the people are great and the ice breaker games were lots of fun. I can’t wait to see what this week brings!
Stephanie Budden, Stephenville NL
It’s only our second day but it already feels like we’ve been here for so long! It’s my first time going to Europe so I’m very excited to travel and learn more about the First World War. I’m particularly excited to see the Vimy Memorial as many people have told me it is absolutely breathtaking.
Zachary Collins, Toronto ON
This experience has been great so far, especially meeting everyone and seeing some of the Belgian countryside. Already, I can tell the program is going to be incredible, and I look forward to learning more about Canada and the First World War.
Theo Thompson-Armstrong, Halifax NS
Although it is difficult to pick only one of the incredible things I am looking forward to this week, I am most excited to visit the grave of my Great Great Uncle Bud who died fighting nearby Ypres, Belgium. Here I will be able to lay a pair of wool socks that he had written home asking for in 1915, but never lived to see. Of course, I am also excited to continue sharing my passion for history with the other VPA delegates and chaperones!
Faith Emiry, Massey ON