1917 - 2007

Sunset Ceremony

07 April 2007

The monument glows in the evening sunshine

The weather forecast assured us that the weekend would be dry and sunny yet as we approached Vimy on the Saturday evening the sky behind the monument was thunderous.

For once though the folks from Le Météo got it right and the evening's ceremony passed off with a spectacular contrast of the sun bathing the monument in an orange glow from one direction whilst the sky behind turned almost to night.

If we thought that man made illuminations were good - nature was going to show us how it should be done.

Beating the retreat and the Sunset Ceremony date from practises carried out by the old European armies in a time when battles were conducted during the day and armies went home at harvest time.

So that townspeople and guards outside the walls would realise that the gates would soon be closing for the night drums would be beaten and cannon fired. The Regimental Colours would be lowered and returned to barracks.

This evening the ceremony was conducted as it has done so for centuries. The colours were paraded in front of a 300 strong contingent of Canadian soldiers from all parts of the country and all her regiments.

Then as the band and pipes played the Colours were covered for the night, and returned.

The Naval Gun Team fired salvos and the national flags of Canada and France were lowered to the traditional music of Sunset.

Following the military spectacle the monument's new illuminations were shown off to the public for the first time, accompanied by a programme of songs, music and prose.

The temperature dropped quite rapidly and thankfully the system of navettes to take us back to the Vimy parking area was fairly well organised.


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Greeted by Mounties at the gate The trumpeters make their way to the monument The Canadian troops arrive Colours unfurled Glowing in the light against a thunderous background
Click on the thumbnails for a larger picture Soldiers surround the base of the monument The colours are covered The national flags are lowered As the sun went down the illuminations came on

The Sunset Ceremony The Dedication Ceremony
The Freedom of Arras The Freedom of Arras
Vimy: The Play Vimy: The Play
Vimy Ridge Vimy Ridge