Canada is lucky that its countryside and home-front has not been ravaged by war in a long time. However, Northwest Europe has seen its share of war strife over the last 100 years. Villages, towns and cities destroyed. This makes Remembrance of the sacrifice of the soldiers that liberated their homelands and helped protect their countries very poignant.
British schools break for summer holidays later than Canadian schools, so at the end of June and early July many schools organize year-end trips. Belgium and Northern France is where many excursions will make their way, and this is where the British lost tens of thousands. Whole communities, entire factories and work places that enlisted together, were killed or lost forever.
Like the Newfoundlanders when the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was decimated 1st July 1916, every community was affected by the loss of a relative and that effect continues to this day. Even though today’s children growing up in Northwest Europe have not experienced war themselves, their parents and grandparents have and they know the hardship of war. To them Remembrance has a special meaning.
Some of the students are there because they have to, or to get out of school for a couple of days, others and I sure the majority are there because it is important to them. From the quiet solitude of Remembrance at a grave of an Unknown Soldier at Tyne Cot Cemetery to large groups touring Beaumont-Hamel each gesture was important.
At the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate, schools have students place wreaths during the Ceremony to pay respect to young men and women that would have been just a couple of years older than they are.
Picture below: Students at Menin Gate
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