Regina teenager walks in footsteps of World War veterans
It's a trip back in time for Abby Vadeboncoeur
A Saskatchewan girl has walked in the footsteps of First and Second World War heroes.
Abby Vadeboncoeur is one of 13 students from across Canada who won the prestigious national Beaverbrook Vimy Prize. It's a fully funded, two-week educational program that travels through England, France and Belgium to visit important historical sites for Canada during the First and Second World War.
Vadeboncoeur is a Luther College High School Grade 12 student who has a passion for history, particularly the history of the world wars. She said that passion was passed down to her from her mother.
"She's always had a very sort of focused interest on the day-to-day life of soldiers fighting in World War I," said Vadeboncoeur.
"I kind of find myself being similar. I do find it interesting the political action that led to the different conflicts that have happened through history, but also almost more fascinating to me is how it affected the average civilian."
She said this is the the most interesting aspect to reflect on for her because of its relatability, and how "you can see it being applied to yourself."
As part of the trip, students visited sites like the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. She said this was the pinnacle moment of the trip.
"It was a big moment of national pride, I found the monument to be deeply moving and fascinating," said Vadeboncoeur.
She added the group learned the background of four of the soldiers whose names were on the memorial.
"It was just amazing to see them come to life, and see that they're more than just names, more than just words on a wall," she said.
Private Henri Cariou
The students were also required to research a soldier for months before the trip and present on that soldier to their peers at their grave. Vadeboncoeur chose to present on Pte.Henri Cariou of the 46th Battalion, Saskatchewan Regiment. He died fighting in northern France at the age of 20.
After spending months learning about Pte. Cariou, she said it was surreal to find his name on the memorial.
"Just to see him commemorated in a place where there are people walking around constantly, and people passing him by everyday, it just made it seem like he was far more real and maybe a bit more remembered," she said.
"You kind of sometimes think that a lot of these soldiers that fell in World War I, must have just gotten lost somewhere along the way. It's almost a little bit of a comfort to know he hasn't quite been lost."
Second World War
Vadeboncoeur is looking forward to the next portion of the trip, which focuses more on Second World War historical sites.
The students will be visiting Juno Beach and other key sites in Normandy, as well as the sites of the Battle of Dieppe.
"I would say out of the two World Wars, I definitely know more about World War I. So I'm pretty excited to expand my base of knowledge that I have about World War II."
With files from CBC Radio's The Morning Edition