Exploring Canadian Roots (6)

World War I: The Last Post


The monument known as the Brooding Soldier stands a few kilometres outside of Ypres, Belgium, marking the site of the first poison gas attack launched by the Germans during World War. The monument is on the spot where the Canadians withstood the attack during the second battle of Ypres in 1915. The soldier (called the Canadian by locals) faces the direction from which the gas came.

The Brooding Soldier stands in a Flanders field. Ypres is the site of the In Flanders Fields museum in the historic Cloth Hall, which we visited. Every evening at 8 pm in Ypres there’s a moving memorial ceremony at the town’s Menin Gate. The Fire Brigade does the Last Post and the skirl of bagpipes is heard.

We nearly missed the ceremony as we were busy sampling Belgian beers down the street. The crowd was so large we could only hear it. Afterwards, we took a walk along the ramparts of this lovely little town.

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