Posted: 12/11/2014 at 10:20
Just back from 2 days at Ypres. http://s211.photobucket.com/user/Obelixx_be/library/1411%20Ypres%20and%20Tyne%20Cot?sort=9&page=1
We visited the town and the Menin Gate on the 10th and walked the ramparts from the Menin Gate to the Lille Gate. The ramparts at the Menin Gate had a field of commemorative poppies with personal messages to fallen relatives. It's unbelievably moving to see all the 56,000 names of those lost with no known burial place. We went to the Last Post ceremony on the Monday - very moving with music by two bands of brass, pipes and drums plus a solo violin performance and the Last Post.
Yesterday - Remembrance Day - we found the Yorkshire trench and dugout which was discovered by accident when they were digging foundations for a new industrial park. Then we went to Tyne Cot cemetery where another 35000 missing dead are named. Rows and rows of stones to named and unknown dead. There was a wreath laying ceremony there at 3pm with a fly past of old planes, the West Yorks police band, the Flanders Pipes band and a Canadian choir. Another moving experience.
Travelling around there are roundabouts with memorials to the horses and the fallen but also celebrations of local life. Ypres was razed to the ground in the great war but rebuilt itself and swore never to forget those who died for our freedom. Both our granddads fought but survived though, like others, their lives were shortened by their experiences, including being gassed.
Next year we shall do a guided tour of the battle fields to understand more.