18 students.  6 adults. 9 packed days.  3 European countries.  Countless memories.

That is the barest summary of Edmonton Christian High School’s “Vimy Ridge 100th Anniversary” trip.  It might be best to leave it as a bare summary, because it is clear from speaking with some of the participants, that attempting to capture this trip with words leaves them feeling inadequate.  When asked the standard, “So how was it?” question, Grade 12 student Emily W. said, “I would need to get out a dictionary to try find enough words to describe the trip.”  And so it is best not to use too many words for this story.  What follows are a few reflections from some participants and some of the pictures that were taken.

“The most impactful thing for me was probably Tyne Cot Cemetery (Belgium), because of the amount of people and the vastness of everything that we were seeing.”  (Emma M., Gr 12)

“The Vimy monument was a lot bigger than I thought.  (Noel N. Gr 12)

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“Seeing how big the monument was and all the names engraved on it was pretty powerful.” (Jaden S.  Gr 12)

“All of the boots on the hills at the monument had an impact on me.” (Jacob P. Gr 12)

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Whenever we went to  a memorial or a graveside I would get a realization that every one of those people, whether they were German or, like, from some other country, they had people that they were close to and that loved them.  So many people died.  (Jaydon S. Gr 10)

“I know quite a bit about the wars, but to actually be there gives you a feeling you can’t pull out of a textbook.”  (Emily W. Gr 12)

“I would have to say one of the most impactful events was going to the concentration camp (Dachau) because even though it was smaller than the Vimy Ridge ceremony location, in its time it held more than 10 times the amount of people that were at the Vimy ceremony.”  (Jaydon S. Gr 10)

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“Yesterday morning was a day of sober reflection and thought. We had a very powerful devotional time in the evening where we all reflected on our visit. In this Easter season you could sense: Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy; God have mercy.” (Mr. Cam Befus, teacher, on Instagram, April 12)

“Dachau, in tandem with Easter, was very powerful.  Sin was clearly evident.  The next day we hiked to a castle and the beauty of the surroundings reminded us of the resurrection. (Mr. Wes Boonstra, teacher)

This trip included more than memorials and sober reflections on the brokenness of war.

“The most fun was the Palace of Versailles.  The gardens were so huge and so beautiful and they had music playing.  We just felt like dancing.” (Emma M. and Emily W. Gr 12)

The best day was when we went to the Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany).  We hiked up a beautiful ridge and could actually see into Austria (Noel, Jacob and Jaden  Gr 12)

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“The BMW factory/museum was great.”

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“It definitely made me want to travel more,  that’s for sure.  It was a lot of the Creation-Enjoying throughline.  (Noel N.  Gr 12)

“It made me realize its a big world.  I just want to get out there.”  (Jacob P. Gr 12)

“I would do this again. It was a good experience for me.  It built up my confidence.”  (Jaydon S. Gr 10)

Clearly this trip was a blessing.  How appropriate that as the participants posted on Instagram @echstravel they used the hashtag #graceandgratitude.   God is good, and even more than the Palace of Versailles, that’s reason to dance!

Thanks to the participants whose pictures (taken from Instagram) appear here.  Thanks also to staff members Mr. Befus, Mr. Hofstede and Mr. Boonstra for working to make the trip happen and to those other adults who accompanied the students.
by Brian Doornenbal