Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ypres, and the Menen Gate

Another day in  and around Ypres in Flanders, and another day for insight and understanding. Visiting the cemetery on the Messines Ridge was not only the usual moving time with too many names on head stones, but also as we'd already seen, a good demonstration of how the ridge dominated the surrounding countryside. This first photo taken from the cemetery looks down onto the low ground that the allied forces occupied. From this vantage point an observer can see everything that goes on down on the flat. The vulnerability of the British army is very clear.

The entrance to the cemetery.

We spent most of today 'stooging' around in Ypres itself. This is the famed Menen Gate in Ypres (Iepers in Flemish), seen from outside the old mediaeval ramparts of the town.

We made sure we stayed on for the 8pm ceremony. Here the crowd is gathering, this is less than one quarter of it.

On this night four buglers marched out and played Last Post, and Reveille.

I was going to take some video, and many more still photos, but frankly it felt inappropriate. The ceremony is a genuine attempt at honouring the memory of the hundreds of thousands who died defending the Ypres salient; I thought that I should honour their memory too, and so I put the camera away.

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