Last week was the commemoration of the battle of Vimy Ridge one of the most defining moments in Canadian history. As public figures and politicians issued statements on the significance of the event. Anecdotal evidence
shows that the actual memory of the battle is fading from Canadians memories. To that end, Ipsos released a poll that showed a majority of Canadians could not recognize the Vimy Memorial.
The monument at Vimy Ridge is featured on both the $20 bill and the $2 coin, and yet 70% of those polled were unwilling to even hazard a guess, saying that they ‘didn’t know’ the distinctive shape of the Vimy Memorial, one of Canada’s great examples of public art. Others thought that the monument represented the Twin Towers / World Trade Centre (3%), the Washington Monument (1%), or unspecified mentions of memorials to the First World War (>0%), Second World War (1%), or war memorials in general (3%).
One the most concerning parts of the study has to be that millennial’s recognition of the monument plummets to 13%. Because they are the future of remembrance and to see these alarmingly low numbers is concerning just a year after the Centennial remembrance. To turn these numbers around, I would love to see more of a focus for students in high school on key dates in Canada’s military history. Finally, if we do not remember our history. How can we honour the past?