In August 2017, Venturer Scout, David Alexander of the 1st Valois United Company, embarked on the adventure of his lifetime, visiting sites of the First and Second World Wars to honour Canada’s Veterans and learn about their sacrifices. This opportunity was afforded to David by the Vimy Foundation’s Beaverbrooke Vimy Prize, a prestigious honour only granted to 16 students.
David’s passion for veteran’s advocacy and commemoration started in Beaver Scouts where he handed out poppies with the local Royal Canadian Legion. In many cases those who had served in the First and Second World Wars accompanied him. Hearing about their stories, triumphs and sacrifices gave David an appreciation for the immense contributions their service had on our country. From participating in Remembrance Day ceremonies to laying wreaths and marching in parades, David’s motivation to preserve the legacy of Canada’s Veterans was fostered through Scouts.
The Beaverbrook Vimy trip took place this past summer in August 2017, when David travelled to the United Kingdom, France and Belgium to visit historical sites such as Vimy Ridge, Beaumont Hamel, Passchendaele, Dieppe and Juno Beach. Witnessing the monuments, sites and places where our fallen reside put everything in perspective for David.
“It made it real. Seeing a number of casualties in a text book and then seeing it in the thousands of tombstones at cemeteries brings those numbers to life,” said David, “it is a powerful reminder of how many lives were sacrificed for younger generations.”
A particularly special mission for David was the task of researching and commemorating his great-great-Uncle who had served, and then visiting where he was laid to rest. Standing beneath the Vimy memorial was his proudest moment of the journey.
“Although a strong German fortress, careful planning and rehearsal allowed Canadian troops to take Vimy,” said David, “The triumph at Vimy Ridge was truly the birth of a Nation, but we will always remember the 10,000 killed and wounded.”
Now that David has gained even further appreciation and knowledge of how Canadian Veterans built this nation, his goal is to ensure their legacy lives on by raising awareness amongst younger generations. In the immediate future, David will be presenting to the Royal Montreal Group Regiment to highlight the sacrifices made for the freedom and democracy we enjoy today. He will also continue to participate in commemoration events.
As we say, “It starts with Scouts,” And for David, the sky is the limit as he ensures no Veterans is forgotten.