The Cool House: 11.11.11.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today is Armistice Day, the 90th anniversary of the end of World War One. Even in this time of war it is difficult to image the trauma that millions went through fighting "the war to end all wars", but if you have lived in Flanders there is a constant reminder in the landscape and the rebuilt city of Ieper.
One of the starkest, most powerful experiences is to visit the Menenpoort or Menin Gate and see the names of the missing 54,896 soldiers inscribed into the walls. No one leaves there unaffected by the sacrifice the mostly very young men made in the name of civilisation. Further out of town there are the Cemeteries where thousands of soldiers are buried and the harrowing but compelling In Flanders Fields Museum that tells the story of The Great War from the perspective of witnesses, both soldiers and civilians, to the misery and horror of Ypres, Passchendaele and The Somme. The war ended at 11 am on 11th of November 1918, and is remembered every year at this time with a minute's silence. Lest we forget.

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- Lt.-Col. John McCrae


Marilyn said...

I love that poem. An excellent reminder.

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