August 26, 2016

Summer of 2016 - Part 3

World War I Cemeteries and Memorials

We've all, of course, learned about the War at school. Those of us with good memories could probably still discuss the social and political events that came together to result in the conflict. We can name some of the major battles, and will roughly recall the number of casualties - 17 million deaths and 20 million wounded.

But seeing the European cemeteries and memorials to the fallen truly demonstrates the magnitude of it all  more than anything else. We have been to sites in Belgium and France and heard about those in the Netherlands. These countries continue to respect and honour the memory of those lost and continue express their gratitude to the Allied countries for coming to their assistance. If children everywhere could, at some stage in their education, visit these sites, it might go a long way to preventing such horrors in the future.

The Island Of Ireland

Messines, Belgium

Adam took us one morning to Messines to visit the Irish memorial site and it was truly a moving experience.

The 36th Ulster Division had 32,186 casualties. The 10th Irish Division numbered 9,363 and the 16th Irish Division had 28,398 casualties.

The Peace Tower

The inside of this tower is lit up by the sun only on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month - to mark the day the Armistice was signed.

A leaf motif on a low wall.
When the light changes, the upper part of the leaf becomes a line of marching soldiers

One of the most poignant aspects of the park, for me, were the nine stone tablets inscribed with the words of Irish soldiers. The one above says:

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