Local a part of Vimy Ridge 100

By Geoff Lee

April 19, 2017 3:22 PM

LEST WE FORGET Top photo: Taylor Greening, right, and Emile Couturier were among 26 students chosen to attend the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge at the National War Memorial on April 9. Greening is a grad of Holy Rosary High School and took a Canada Remembrance course in 2015 that led to her selection to take part in the Vimy celebration by videotaping the Commitment to Remember in English shown at Vimy and on TV. Couturier recited the commitment in French, and (bottom photo) Greening visited the grave of First World War soldier G.W. Thacker from Regina who was killed at Vimy Ridge. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Visit to pivotal place in Canadian history

Holy Rosary High School grad, Taylor Greening, had a front row seat to Canadian history in the making at the National Vimy Memorial in France.
The 19 year old now, living in Vancouver, was one of 26 youth to participate in the Veterans Affairs Canada delegation to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9.
In Vimy, the teen sat in the front row, nearly shoulder to shoulder with dignitaries such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry.
“It was an amazing experience for sure,” she said via phone on the drive home from Edmonton last Thursday to visit her family over the Easter weekend.
“It was super cool to see France and Belgium,” said Greening who travelled throughout France from April 3-13.
“I also got to meet tons of veterans on the trip, getting to hear their stories and the life of the battle.”
The First World War battle was the first time all four Canadian divisions fought together with the Canadian victory over the Germans, and hailed by many as a defining nation-building moment.
“I also got to go visit the battlefield and see the trenches and walk through the tunnels that were used 100 years ago for the Battle of Vimy,” said Greening.
She called it an eye-opening experience and not what she was expecting, especially the terrain.
“Also, seeing the veterans and hearing their stories definitely opened up my eyes,” she said.
In a touching moment, Greening celebrated the life of Vimy soldier George William Thacker, from Regina, as all the youth were tasked with researching an assigned name or hero before the trip.
“I actually found it difficult to find information on him, but I was able to find a little bit,” she said.
“While I was in Vimy Ridge, I got to go and visit his grave and see his tombstone— that was a pretty amazing experience.”
Her mom Ginette, who is bursting with pride, said her daughter had quite an itinerary, which included attending museums and monuments, and a lot of activities commemorating the veterans.
She noted her daughter was even on the live CTV Television broadcast from Vimy, sitting in the front row after the playing of a video of Taylor reciting the Commitment to Remember in English, filmed earlier that week.
She was one of three youth picked for the honour when they arrived in France.
“We got up at 4 a.m. and drove to the Vimy memorial and we went to Givency (Road Canadian Cemetery), and there was a camera crew that filmed us stating the commitment with the Vimy memorial behind us,” said Greening.
None of this would have happened without Greening being enrolled in the Encounters with Canada study program at Holy Rosary in 2015.
The government program allows students to pick a study theme such as arts and culture or Canada Remembrance, which is what she chose.
Greening met the course criteria and flew to Ottawa for a week with other students to take part in the National Remembrance Day ceremony that November.
“All the youth selected to go to Vimy were alumni from Encounters with Canada,” she explained, with just 26 of the 3,600 who took the program selected for France.
Her selection was helped by being nominated twice by program leaders as she’s bilingual, and learned French at École St. Thomas in Lloydminster.
The invitation though caught her by surprise.
She got a phone call from the Veteran Affairs office in late February of this year inviting her to accept within three days.
“It came out of nowhere, I wasn’t expecting it,” she said.
Watching it all unfold at home were her mom, dad Terry, her sister Jenna and her brother Landon who both attend Holy Rosary.
The Vimy celebrity in the family flew back to Vancouver on Monday, where she relocated last August to pursue a career in dance at the Harbour Dance Centre.
There is a possibility of her returning to Lloyd to speak with students at Holy Rosary about her experience in Vimy Ridge.
“I would love to for sure,” she said.
“I am not exactly 100 per cent sure of what my schedule is, and if I will be able to do that, but I would love to do a presentation and talk about what I saw there and what I

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