The Friday Photo #54 – Remembering in Flanders Fields

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

While attending the ANZAC Day service here in Melbourne last Monday, I listened to the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” being read out to the silent crowd as we stood in the pre-dawn chill.  Reflecting on the poem’s meaning, I thought back to my time in those very fields last year.  The photo above was taken at the Tyne Cot War Graves Cemetery near Passendale in Belgium, the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world.  Close to 12,000 soldiers are buried there.

If there is a greater monument to the futility of war than this gravesite and the surrounding battlefields, I haven’t found it yet.

8 Responses to “The Friday Photo #54 – Remembering in Flanders Fields

  • Thanks for sharing–I was at the dawn service as well, and this poem was one of my favorite parts. Very moving. Beautiful photo too!

    • Thanks Christine! That poem has a special place in the hearts of Aussies and Kiwis, so I’m pleased you found it moving too…

  • Good to see serious parts of travel also reach the blogosphere. I wrote about my first ANZAC day service in Australia this year. It was on the beach and really thought-provoking but at the same time respectful.

    • Australia does do ANZAC day services particularly well, in my experience. Of course that may also have something to do with the weather – I almost always got rained on and froze when going to the services in NZ!

  • My grandmother lost two brothers in what was then called “The Great War”. (Every so often I think of going to Flanders to see if I can find their graves, but didn’t do it yet). It’s so hard to think of young men going half way around the world to die so long ago. I’m glad that your generation understands and appreciates what they did. Thanks for posting this. The memorial is beautiful. So tranquil.

    • You’re more than welcome. The whole area around Passendale and the rest of what used to be Flanders is like that – very tranquil, with brightly coloured farmer’s fields, narrow lanes and birds singing. It’s hard to believe that the entire area was reduced to mud and clay 100 years ago, with literally not a tree or any other structure left standing. Even now, farmers are unearthing unexploded shells and grenades, or finding rusted rifles, in their fields all the time…

  • That’s a beautiful photo. We’re hoping to make it up to the memorials and trenches at Çanakkale soon. I’ve seen some great blog posts about the dawn services there on Anzac Day but we’d probably just go during quieter times I think.

    • Thanks Julia! I mentioned to a few of my friends on ANZAC Day this year that one day I’ll be attending dawn service at Gallipoli. I hear it’s very crowded these days, though, so like you I’m wondering whether going there at a quieter time might be a better option…

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