Travelling to Vimy for the Centenary Commemoration – Blog #1 by CWO Dave Goldenberg

Hello Ranger Family

I am soon to leave for France to attend the Vimy Ridge 100th Anniversary Memorial and I have been asked to share my experiences with you by blogging.  To be honest, I have never blogged and never had a yearning to blog…. but I am going to give it a go….”its easy” they said. My plan is to write a blog every day to provide an update as to where I have been and what the delegation has been up to. I sounds like we will be very busy so I am anticipating a lot to write about.  Let’s get started!

I want to start by saying how incredibly honoured and humbled I am by being a part of this event.  I admit that when I saw the posting from the Regimental Council on Facebook looking for nominations I was thinking about whose name I would put forward and how fortunate the person chosen would be. Then, totally out of left field, I get the phone call from the Council telling me that I was nominated and asking if I was available (easily answered). I want to thank my fellow Rangers so much for this opportunity and I will do my best to represent you well.  

My intention with this first entry is to introduce what I hope will be a series of informative entries. I will try my best to convey the emotion and the power of what occurs during my time in France. 

I guess it would be a good idea to bring you up to speed on what is the general “scheme of manoeuvre” for the next few days without breaching any OPSEC J(for non-military readers…what’s the plan). The first few days are uneventful as they are primarily travel days. Delegates are to be in Ottawa no later than 1800 hours on the 4th.   Basically the 4th will be a day of consolidation, briefings and final packing for our departure to France. 

On the 5th, we will be check out of the hotel early in the morning and make our way to the Airport. After landing in Lille France, we move to our hotels, settle in and recuperate from the flight.  Then the schedule truly kicks into gear on the 6th until the 11th.  I plan on writing my next entry starting on the 6th and everyday after that…. I hope, we will see what happens after crossing the Line of Departure.

As we approach April 9th, I would like to leave you with an overview of the times we are in. Canada will be commemorating the battle for Vimy Ridge, which occurred in a war to end all wars. I am by no means an historian, but a hundred years later, the world is still a dangerous and complex place, albeit with different antagonists (somewhat). For example, France, Germany, and Great Britain have been dealing with terrorist attacks on their own soil.  Then there is the on-going situation in the Ukraine with Russia clearly flexing its muscle in the region. This situation causes tension between Russia and the West. There is ISIS in Iraq and Syria, trying to extend its reach into other countries, including Afghanistan, and doing its best to spread terror around the world. And of course, Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent who were killed on Canadian soil. In response, Canadian soldiers are currently on Operation in Eastern Europe and Iraq to face some of these modern-day challenges.

I am not in any way trying to directly compare these issues to the enormity of WW1. My point is simply that, as always, the Canadians Soldiers, as with their brothers and sisters over the years, are putting themselves in harm’s way doing what needs to be done in a dangerous world.