Green Lizard's Blog

The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.

VE Day 2015

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. 

  
And many thousands of graves without  a name. The unknown soldiers. There are fifty thousand people whose remains were never located. They remain part of the earth. Lost.

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. 

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3 comments on “VE Day 2015

  1. Grower
    May 12, 2015

    Thanks for sharing this. It must have been an incredibly moving place to visit. So little of the “great wars” took place here that I think it’s harder for Americans to remember. Almost every town has a memorial of some sort, but they’re small and scattered across the country so the magnitude of the loss is diluted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lizard100
      May 13, 2015

      The place is really thought provoking. It’s so hard to imagine it all but there are no old trees or buildings. Very spooky.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Emily Scott
    May 18, 2015

    A beautiful post. It does us good to look back and remember the troubles of those who came before us.

    Like

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