Ottawa – July 22nd marked the end of the 100th annual International Four Days Marches Nijmegen in the Netherlands. This year, more than 200 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members from across Canada and Formation Europe participated in the marching event, and were awarded a special 100th anniversary edition of the Four Day Marches Cross.
The CAF contingent, led by Colonel Kristiana Stevens for the second year, marched 40 km a day for four days, an effort culminating in a five-kilometre victory parade. The parade was attended by thousands of spectators who cheered the CAF contingent in commemoration of the Canadian soldiers who liberated the Netherlands from Nazi occupation during the Second World War.
Originally a means by which the Dutch infantry aimed to increase their long-distance marching and weight-carrying ability, the Nijmegen Marches have evolved into an international four-day event that draws more than 50 000 civilians from over 50 countries, in addition to military participants, to challenge their physical and mental endurance. The CAF has participated in the Marches every year since 1952.
“The Canadian contingent can look back and be proud of having overcome the major challenge presented by the Nijmegen Marches. They can be proud as well for having paid such a fitting tribute to the Canadian servicemen and women who fought and died in Europe during the First World War and the Second World War, and for their own military service as members of the Canadian Armed Forces who continue to answer their nation’s call in the name of peace and security.”
Lieutenant General Guy Thibault, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
“I could not be any more appreciative of the strength of character that our Canadian Armed Forces members demonstrated once again this year at the Nijmegen Marches. They completed this wonderful challenge together, and that is only a small reflection of their capacity for harmony and teamwork.”
Colonel Kristiana Stevens, Commander Joint Task Force Nijmegen
- The CAF contingent in the 2016 Nijmegen Marches was made up of 15 teams of 11 marchers each from across Canada and Formation Europe, along with VIPs and support staff.
- The CAF contingent represented all the ranks, trades, and diversity of Canada’s military.
- While in Europe, the CAF contingent also commemorated Canada’s First World War legacy at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial in France. An additional ceremony took place on Day 3 of the Marches at the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands, commemorating fallen Canadians from the Second World War.
Source: National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces