We also cycled to many of the other battlefields in the area, toured the Iepers museum, and attended the Last Post at Menen Gate on two nights. The few days I was there gave me a whole new perspective on World War I!
Cycling through Italy in 06, we passed Salerno and saw this green bit of land, which looked like a piece of England. It was, mostly british war garves. We stopped and asked a guy if it would be ok to sit and have lunch on the grass, not wanting to cause offense, the gentleman replied " Do you not think the people buried here would like this" to which I replied, after some thought, " yes they would love it, they after all died for the freedom I have to cycle up and have a picnic lunch with them"
Seemed to have made his day, as he requested we sign the book of remembrance. I did feel better for it as I said a little prayer and thanked them for what they did. 1700 british men died and most had not reached their 21 birthday. Humble, well it made me insignificant touring about on a cycle.
When I toured the War Museum in Ottawa last summer I was shocked to see there were over 16 000 Canadian casualties in ONE attack at Passchendaele in WWI.
Sixteen thousand men in one attack.
I still can't get over it.
The display is haunting and accurate. Men drowning in mud, thousands of soldiers killed and forever missing.
Anyone in the Ottawa area should take in this new building.
On a recent walking (and tram) tour of Melbourne, Rowan and I visited the Shrine of Remembrance, which reminded me of the cycling tour we did in the Ieper area in 2007 (linked in the first post).
The Shrine of Remembrance is a large building built in the 1930s for the fallen Australian, and particularly Victorian, soldiers from WWI. It's an incredible building both inside and out. We attended the short service they have inside every half hour where they explain the building, and show a simulation of what happens at 11 am, on the 11th of November. On that day (today), a ray of sunshine passes across a stone in the middle of the building highlighting the word Love engraved in the middle of the stone at precisely 11 am.
A photo I took of the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne ...
Thanks Machka for reminding us all of the sacrifice that our military people all over the world make for their country. I think that too that we should also remember those who died in training missions and on United Nations duty. Here is a couple of links to some Canadians that died in the middle east while on UN duties. I had some personal involvement with this event so it is something that I remember on this day. There is a monument for them in Calgary.