The Last Post – New 20 Dollar Bill Remembers Vimy Ridge
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OTTAWA, Aug. 27, 2012 /CNW/ – For most of us, references to Vimy Ridge only hint at a distant high school history lesson on the First World War. But with the passing of Canada’s last veteran of the First World War in 2010, it is becoming increasingly important for us to remember the sacrifices of a generation of men and women whose lives were touched by war.
Each November we don our poppies as a symbol of remembrance, but this year we’ll have another reason to pause and take note.
The new polymer $20 bank note will begin circulating in November; its new design may serve as a refresher history lesson on a victorious battle that is often described as Canada’s coming of age.
The back of the $20 note features the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and pays tribute to the contributions and sacrifices of Canadian men and women in all military conflicts. The iconic monument is located in Vimy, France, and commemorates the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The monument bears the names of the 11,285 Canadian soldiers with no known resting place in France.
Poppies also appear on the back of the new $20 note. These images of the flowers that are synonymous with remembrance will soon be seen by Canadians every day.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge
On 9 April 1917, all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force united for the first time to take Vimy Ridge, a strategically important position in France that had eluded previous attempts by Allied forces between 1914 and 1916.
The Vimy Memorial
Located at the highest point of Vimy Ridge, the memorial was erected on land granted permanently to Canada by France in 1922, in recognition of Canada’s war efforts. The inscription on the base of the monument reads, “To the valour of their countrymen in the Great War and in memory of their sixty thousand dead this monument is raised by the people of Canada.”
Designed by Canadian sculptor Walter Seymour Allward, the limestone monument features two pylons that stand 30 metres high. With a maple leaf carved in one and a fleur-de-lis in the other, the pylons represent the sacrifices of people from Canada and France.
There are twenty sculpted allegorical figures on the monument. Among them is a group known as “The Chorus.” They represent the virtues of Peace, Justice, Hope, Charity, Faith, Honour, Truth and Knowledge. Reaching upward with a torch, Peace is the highest figure on the monument.
The presence of red poppies in battlefields and burial grounds throughout Europe during the First World War inspired the symbol of remembrance that we know today. Mourning the death of a friend, Canadian military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae wrote “In Flanders Fields,” the now-famous poem that reflects on the living presence of poppies in a landscape devastated by war.
On 11 November, people around the world will pause to remember. With this new $20 note, Canadians will soon have another means to remember—year-round and every time they open their wallets.
For more information on polymer notes and their security features, visit www.bankofcanada.ca/banknotes.
Did You Know?
The $20 note accounts for over half of all bank notes in circulation. There are over 845 million $20s in circulation.
Watch the $20 Note Video
Visit www.bankofcanada.ca/banknotes and watch the new $20 polymer bank note video that describes the Vimy memorial and explains the note’s innovative security and design.
For more information about the battle and the Vimy memorial, visit www.vimyfoundation.ca or www.museedelaguerre.ca/cwm/exhibitions/vimy/index_e.shtml
SOURCE: Bank of Canada
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