For Montreal high school students, trip to Vimy Ridge drives home sacrifice of Canadian soldiers
'I was able to imagine what was going on the very spot that I was standing,' Lindsay Place student says
Talking about it is one thing, being there is another.
A group of students from Lindsay Place High School in Pointe-Claire, Que., was among the thousands of Canadians who made the trip to France for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
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The 35 students prepared for the trip for two years, learning about the battle's importance in the history of Canada and the First World War.
But visiting the site itself made the battle all the more real — and brought forward a plethora of emotions.
"To see the trenches that were there, and to see the actual place where people fought and lost their lives and gave the ultimate sacrifice, is truly amazing," student Veronica Jaramillo said in an interview from France.
The battle, which marked the first time all four Canadian divisions fought side by side during the war, was commemorated at a ceremony Sunday at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in northern France.
25,000 travel to Vimy Ridge
As many as 25,000 people were in attendance, including veterans, dignitaries, Princes Charles, William and Harry, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
"Pride and honour and also, you feel sympathy, because a lot of soldiers that fought were around my age, around 17 years old."
Leah Suissa, another student, described the experience as "incredible."
With files from Jay Turnbull and The Canadian Press