Friday, 11 November 2011

Lest We Forget - Brussels

We spent Remembrance Day in Brussels, about 150 km away from the town of Ypres and the heart of "In Flanders Field." For me, the Remembrance ceremony was surprisingly small and sparsely attended for a nation which was the epicentre of the First World War and suffered so much in the Second World War also. Honestly, the ones we attended in Halifax had bigger ceremonies and crowds, which I truly find astonishing.
That's not to say the war and military service has been forgotten completely here, as seen by this gentleman standing next to me in the peanut gallery.
 King Albert II of Belgium was there to lay wreathes at the ceremony, which meant the square near the cenotaph was pretty much completely closed off from view by the public. I caught this picture of him in the military uniform in the middle as he was getting into his car. I guess I shouldn't really complain - if this was in London with the Queen we wouldn't get within a country mile of the ceremony.
 A band played throughout the ceremony and the wreath-laying, along with a few troops marching by.
 At the cenotaph. A view on the left from ground level, with the wreathes in the foreground and the lions, a military reunion, and the eternal flame in the background. At the base of the flame lies the tomb of the unknown soldier.


  1. 11/11/11 It does make you appreciate what we have and what others have sacrificed. Remembrance Day is less about pomp and circumstance and more a reminder of those who have stood up for us so we do not have to. I suspect this day has different meaning here and in Belgium. Belgium is/was a country literally caught in the middle of 2 devastating world wars. We in Canada never had our country invade and trampled upon like the Belgians not to mention the horrific civilian atrocities. It is easy for us here in Canada to say "Lest we forget" but I wonder if the Belgians think "Lest we could forgot". This is also a day to remember that Zachary and Jaybob, Uncle Crabby and Daddy have family who lived through the second world war and were not much older than they were when it happened. I encourage you to explore this with ma ma and yey yey!! After all - they were literally there when the Japanese invade China and Hong Kong. I was blessed to have many opportunities to have such discussions with my own family and I believe those "war stories by the camp fire" gave me an awareness of life and humanity that I honor every day.

  2. Zachary and Jacob are also descended from a man who fought with the Canadian forces in the front lines in WWII through France, Holland and....Belgium, where they are presently situated. (That would be Debbie's grandfather, and their great-grandfather.)