The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.
Victory in Europe Day WWI is being recognised across the region for the seventieth time this week.
A fortnight ago we visited a small town in Belgium that was at the heart of the western front in the First World War.
Ypres or Ieper , saw intense fighting and devastating loss of life. Since 1928 the people of this remarkable place have undertaken a commitment to remember the fallen.
At 8.00pm every evening, a bugler sounds the last post at the Menin Gate. We witnessed this event on Anzac Day. The day when Australia and New Zealand pay their respects to those who died. It marks the first landing of the Anzacs at Galipoli.
This year the Menin gate ceremony remembers an individual who died one hundred years before in that area on each day. We heard the story of a young Australian who had lost his life. He was called Lyle. He was nineteen.
It was a simple yet profound event. In the busy lives we lead today we rarely think of the millions who died very young all those years ago, yet in Ypres it’s something they do every single day.
There were many Anzac lives lost alongside Indians, British, Canadians, Irish, Americans, Belgians and Germans.
The whole area was decimated. There are no trees here more than one hundred years old. The buildings have all been rebuilt, many in keeping with the old buildings that were there before.
Today it has an iconic feel. There are many cemeteries.
It may not seem to fit logically with the obvious theme of my blog but for me, living as we do in Europe has made me very aware that these terrible events underpin the freedom we now have to live here, tend our garden and feed our chickens.
A hundred and fifty tonnes of shrapnel and war debris is recovered by farmers in this region every year. Even after a hundred years.
We remember them.
a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...