Friday, 11 November 2011

In Memoriam

The Menin Gate stands in the Belgian city of Ieper (Ypres), at the point where many British and Commonwealth soldiers left the city to march to the front line in World War I. The gate was built to commemorate the many thousands of those soldiers who never returned and who have no known grave. (Much more information here.)

The Menin Gate stands over a major road in the city, but every night since 1929 (except while the city was occupied by German troops in World War II) the road is closed at 8.00 and buglers from the Belgian fire brigade play the Last Post. Sometimes there are just a handful of spectators, sometimes as many as two or three hundred - people from all European countries, from Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. The ceremony lasts just a few minutes but is an immensely moving tribute.

We Shall Keep the Faith

by Moina Michael, November 1918

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Ther are many videos of the Menin Gate Last Post on YouTube - this is just one of them.

1 comment:

Suldog said...

Very nice that the tradition is upheld. Very moving.