Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pure Unadulterated Pride

 Two days ago we were driving across the fields of northern France, when there on the right, a ridge rose high above the surrounding plain.
On the edge of the ridge, rising higher still, were two pillars, shining white in the late day sun.
They were visible from many miles away, and shone like a beacon, as if a lighthouse...

...and perhaps in some ways it is...

 The Canadian monument on Vimy Ridge is a thing to behold.
Carved from Croatian stone, it is a tribute to the Canadian soldiers of the first Great War, and is a fitting tribute indeed.
 The land is a free gift to the people of Canada from France, for their efforts on Vimy Ridge, and for their sacrifice; war never comes cheaply and many were lost in the taking of the Ridge.

To get a sense of perspective, the dark speck on the bottom left of the photo is a Canadian tour guide; miniscule against the rising stone. 

Vimy Ridge is a place of peace, born of war.

Both are felt in great quantity as you walk the trails and hear the birds; the uneven forest floor tells the story of artillery fire and mortar shells and even though the humps and craters are covered now with green grass, the stories are still there.

We studied the war in high school and heard stories from grandparents that were a medic and a nurse but there is nothing quite like walking there - the sounds of the shells come easier on the winds of Flanders.

And at every corner, around every bend, there is another Commonwealth Cemetery. The numbers are staggering and they look mighty different when represented by white headstones as opposed to numbers in a history book.

And I understand one more thing much better now:

Lest We Forget


Suztats said...

We must never forget-never deny the atrocities committed in the name of war, the lives sacrificed. For if we do, history may repeat itself. Thank you.

oldgreymare said...

We do forget- we do repeat- we suffer and lose more.
we do not learn...

When I am standing at memorials such as this I stand there weeping as all Mothers do, and the heart break is palpable.


Laura said...

Beautiful Ma! If only monuments like this were accessible to all Canadians...

Marj Talbot said...

We try not to forget - hard to comprehend as we live our peacefull lives. We have very much to be gratefull for - we have a good life thanks to the many.
Thanks tons for sharing such a beautifull post.

Bead and Needle said...

I'll bet this took your breath away, for sure...just stunning!

Michelle May (Shell) said...

Such a beautiful place. Incredible. So much sadness and pain too. War just stinks altogether.
xx, shell