I find it fascinating when a particular date has links to differing actual events. The 9th April is one such date:
Sunday 9th April 1865 was the day that the American Civil War finally ended when the Confederate General Robert E Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia.
Exactly 12 months later, on Monday 9th April 1866, the US Civil Rights Bill was passed allowing black people the rights and privileges of US citizenship. It would take another 100 plus years for Martin Luther King, Jr; and the great many others that picked up his cause to make this an actual reality.
Let’s now move forward to Monday 9th April 1917 in the First World War. This was the day the Battle of Vimy Ridge began. It was fought primarily as part of the Battle of Arrass, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France. The main combatants were four divisions of the Canadian Corps First Army, against three divisions of the German 6th Army – the battle being part of the opening phase of the Battle of Arras. The objective of the Canadian Corps was to take control of the German-held high ground along the northernmost end of the Arras Offensive. The final objective, a fortified knoll located outside the village of Givenchy-en-Gohells fell to the Canadian Corps on Thursday 12th April 1917.
On Wednesday 9th April 2003 the Government of Canada declared it “Vimy Ridge Day”; a day to honour and remember that First World War battle. It is estimated that over 9,000 men lost their lives in the four days it took to take the ridge.