More than 200 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members completed the world-renowned, historic, International Four Days Marches Nijmegen in the Netherlands on Friday, July 21.
Commanded by Col. Geoff Abthorpe, the CAF contingent marched 40 km every day for four days. At the conclusion of the March, the contingent participated in a 5 km victory parade attended by thousands of spectators who cheered on the Canadian soldiers.
The CAF’s participation in the Nijmegen Marches is especially significant considering the role of Canadian soldiers in liberating the Netherlands from Nazi occupation during the Second World War.
This year marked Canada’s 65th year taking part in the Marches.
“I am so impressed by the strength of character that our marchers demonstrated once again this year at Nijmegen. Our teams were well prepared, and persevered through heat and rain to complete this physical and mental challenge, and I am very proud of each member of the contingent,” said the Canadian contingent commander.
This year’s contingent was comprised of 13 teams from across Canada, generally of 11 marchers each, plus special guests and support staff. The participating Canadian soldiers were from every element, rank and trade, male and female, Regular and Reserve Force, and of diverse backgrounds.
While in Europe, the CAF members also commemorated Canada’s First World War legacy with ceremonies at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, and at the Passchendaele Canadian Memorial and the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Belgium.
Additionally, a ceremony was held on the third day of the Marches at the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands, to remember fallen Canadians from the Second World War.
“The Canadian contingent should be very proud of their achievements. Individually they have overcome the formidable physical and emotional challenges presented by the Nijmegen Marches, and as a team they have performed flawlessly as they paid tribute, on behalf of all Canadians, to our nation’s fallen at Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, and Groesbeek. This incredible Canadian contingent, consisting of marchers from the Canadian Armed Forces and special guest marchers from various organizations, should be proud of their accomplishments in the 2017 Nijmegen Marches, during which they have admirably answered the call to service in this, our 150th Anniversary year,” said Cmdr. Haydn Edmundson, Chief of Staff for Military Personnel Command.