This week marks the 97th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
But the honour, deserved and due, to the Vimy Ridge veterans, all veterans in fact, lost its polish this week when Molson Coors decided to use the Vimy Ridge anniversary to launch a new beer as part of the memorial ceremonies held by veterans’ associations.
The battle, against German infantry for control of Vimy Ridge, lasted all of four days, but more than 3,500 Canadian soldiers died and another 7,000 were wounded.
However short, the Battle of Vimy Ridge is viewed as a defining moment for our young country as noted by Brig. General A. E. Ross, when he said, “In those few minutes, I witnessed the birth of a nation.”
That pride, as well as the bravery of the soldiers who took part in the battle is immortalized in the Canadian National Vimy Memorial situated on Vimy Ridge.
A fitting tribute.
Supporting struggling veterans’ associations is to be applauded and encouraged, but to do so with the blatant advertising of a new product is a dishonour to the soldiers of Vimy Ridge and their memories.
The veterans of the First World War are gone and unable to speak for themselves.
It is up to us to stand up and say that the memory of the our veterans should never be used as an advertising gimmick.
If Molson-Coors truly wanted to help the veterans honour our fallen soldiers, they could simply and quietly offer to help the veterans’ associations, many of which are struggling.