The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium dedicated to the commemoration of British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown.
It is a place where you become still... the sadness AND madness hits me each time...
Another big, unaswered WHY...what was it all for?
Following the Menin Gate Memorial opening in 1927, the citizens of Ypres wanted to express their gratitude towards those who had given their lives for Belgium's freedom. As such, every evening at 20:00, buglers from the local fire brigade close the road which passes under the Memorial and sound the Last Post. Except for the occupation by the Germans in World War II when the daily ceremony was conducted at Brookwood Military Cemetery, in Surrey, England, this ceremony has been carried on uninterrupted since 2 July 1928. On the very evening that Polish forces liberated Ypres in the Second World War, the ceremony was resumed at the Menin Gate despite the fact that heavy fighting was still taking place in other parts of the town.
The ceremony is a solemn occasion.. it cannot leave you untouched! The echo bouncing off the thousands of names, all young men, who had no life, they gave it for us... so that we could have today our biggest treasure, FREEDOM! Let's not forget.
Reginald Blomfield's triumphal arch, designed in 1921, is the entry to the barrel-vaulted passage for traffic through the mausoleum that honours the Missing, who have no known graves. The patient lion on the top is the lion of Britain but also the lion of Flanders. It was chosen to be a memorial as it was the closest gate of the town to the fighting, and so Allied Troops would have marched past it on their way to fight. Actually, most troops passed out of the other gates of Ypres, as the Menin Gate was too dangerous due to shellfire.
Its large Hall of Memory contains names on stone panels of 54,896 Commonwealth soldiers who died in the Salient but whose bodies have never been identified or found. On completion of the memorial, it was discovered to be too small to contain all the names as originally planned. An arbitrary cut-off point of 15 August 1917 was chosen and the names of 34,984 UK missing after this date were inscribed on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing instead.
The Menin Gate Memorial does not list the names of the missing of New Zealand and Newfoundland soldiers, who are instead honoured on separate memorials.
People are still comin from all over the world every day, to look for and honour the names of long lost relatives, just the see the engraved name and try and stick a poppy next, just to say, you are not forgotten...
I thank you, Magda.
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