Mark left July 12 from CFB Comox on Vancouver Island for Europe, picking up the other Canadian teams from across the country along the way. Check out the commemorative arm band identifying Mark’s team, Marine Pacific Esquimalt “MARPAC.” There are 15 teams from across Canada travelling to Holland for the March, Mark’s excited to be in one of them!

Mark arrived in Lille, France on Thursday night (July 12), and was greeted by a police escort (isn’t it nice to travel with the US Ambassador)?

He later toured the Canadian National Vimy Memorial that day. It’s an amazing sight; at 220 acres it’s the largest war memorial in the world. The Memorial marks the place of the WW1 battle of Vimy Ridge, and is a tribute to all who served in the battle (1917-1918).

At the base of the Memorial are these words:

    Vimy Memorial

    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

Mark stood in a Vimy Ridge trench – the German trench is only 25 meters away! Trench warfare came at a huge human cost during WW1, both sides would dig trenches for shelter from enemy fire. The area between opposing trench lines (known as “no man’s land”) was exposed to artillery fire from both sides. Notice the mud and water in the trench – it looks uncomfortable enough now, imagine how it was during battle in the rain for all the young men crouched in the mud and dirt?

A memorial service was held; Mark is pictured below with General Cotton.

Mark arrived at Camp Heumensoord on Friday (July 13) at 5:00 – the giant boots and helmet mark the entry point of the camp. At camp he bumped shoulders with hundreds of other Nijmegen Marchers from around the globe.
Pictured below is part of the mess hall where 5000 meals are served at a time. Efficient and delicious.

Tomorrow the March officially begins! Mark will be marching 40km through the city of Elst, handing out Canadian pins and flags to Dutch children along the way.

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