Yesterday was a day to remember The Great War. We started off in Passchendaele looking over the the fields. You look at them differently when you think about what happened here. The first major place to hit was the Tyne Cot Cemetery. 11,954 are buried here….most unknown soldiers. The stone wall surrounding the cemetery is a memorial to the missing; another 34,939 names. Walking through here you get a very small glimpse of the number of lives lost in the Battle of Passchendaele alone.
We next headed for the Passchendaele museum to get some more information and look at some of the artifacts on display from the war. You can easily spend an entire day here going through everything, taking pictures, and reading the history of this battle. This day to this point and through to the evening has a completely different feel to is; honor and respect.
Not far from here is the another Canadian monument on a spot nicknamed Vancouver Corner. “The Brooding Soldier” is a memorial to Canadian soldiers who died April 22nd, 1915 in a poison gas attack by the Germans. A simple monument in comparison to some of the others, it still has a powerful feel to it as you look upon it towering into the sky.
We now needed to head down to France to Sara & Pete’s place where we will be staying for the next few night. Pamela ended up with a migraine today so I figured we would head straight there and I could check out Vimy Ridge tomorrow…that was the plan anyways. As we got closer we realized how close we were to Vimy and decided to check it our right away. This massive Canadian Memorial at Vimy Ridge is dedicated to all the Canadian forces whom died in the First World War and is also a commemoration for all those who died in France and have no known grave.
Many parts of the landscape here are hills and holes from the explosions and shells in this battle. It is quit amazing to see. Many of these spots are fenced of as there are still live shells and bombs in the area, so stick to the pathways. They send sheep into these areas to keep the grounds maintained. If you ever get the chance, you should come see this place.
We headed south and arrived at Sara & Pete’s around 4:30 pm. This is our first meet and is kind of exciting. Pete is out giving a tour but came home a few hours later. Pamela went right to sleep trying to get rid of her migraine; this gave Sara and I time just to talk about family. This is one part of the trip we were looking forward to most and I know Pamela is gonna hit Sara up for some family tree information. We are here until Friday.
(For those who haven’t figured it out yet, you can click on any of the pictures to see a larger version.)