Standing at attention with twenty young Canadians on a French hillside one misty day in June, 1985.
It’s a moment I’ll never forget!
As one of two chaperones for an International Travel Award, I had been travelling for two weeks in the company of twenty of the brightest young Canadians you’d ever want to meet.
These 4-H members were the pick of the crop – two from each province in Canada.
En route from Paris to Calais to catch the ferry across the English Channel, the group persuaded the bus driver to detour past Vimy Ridge. Stepping from the bus, we were met by low clouds and drizzling skies.
Moments later, these ‘Canucks On Tour’ stood on the base of the war memorial. With rain in our faces and tears in our eyes, we looked out over the fields on which our ancestors had struggled so many years before.
One sure clear voice rang out in the mist. The rest joined in. On that spot, on that day, we sang ‘Oh Canada’ like I had never heard it sung before.
Even as I think about it today, the hair on the back of my neck stands at attention. It was a moment of connection … of appreciation … of remembrance. Rarely have I felt as proud to be Canadian as I did that day, halfway around the world and far from home.