I still hear the last post, don’t forget


Commentary

Every night at 8:00, the last post will ring at the Missing Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Belgium, and will continue to ring from July 2, 1928. Except during German occupation. However, as soon as it ended in 1944, the ceremony resumed.

Fast and actually. On September 6, 1944, Polish troops released the monument from the Ypres Alien of World War I. They didn’t know the tombs and were still fighting fierce battles elsewhere in the town, so Bagler appeared to reopen the monument.

On top of that, the now somewhat embarrassing 77 years of uninterrupted years have passed. And even when COVID regulations prohibit crowd gatherings, it’s not just a trumpet or an official wreath of nights, but people from near and far come anyway to stay socially distant and vigilant. I did.

When I had the opportunity to participate in 2014, I was surprised and deeply moved by seeing such a crowd on a nonsensical night while filming the Sun News Network documentary “The Great War Remembered”. Every night, long after no one fought in the war, even those who knew them were declining rapidly. And I was surprised and deeply moved today, reflecting the rapid transition of World War II to that kind of history in which World War I had existed for a long time.

A young man who joined the army at the age of 18 in 1939 will be 100 today. A D-Day veteran I knew enlisted in the 1930s and lived in the 90s … and stayed in his grave for a long time. Still, I can still hear the last post.

It is appropriate that the Poles should have opened the gate. Because freedom has been protected by a huge number of people under various circumstances. But they are still gone. A brave and amorous young man who escaped his hometown shipwreck at the hands of Hitler and Stalin and fought in a foreign land became mature, old, and dusty if he survived the war. Their children are now old, even old and dead, and their grandchildren are rapidly turning gray. Was D-Day 77 years ago? How can you do that?

For me, years can be long or short. Historian descent and training crushed me as a child to the death of Edmund II. not yet. In 1016, in case you don’t face the twilight of Anglo-Saxon England. And for me, the Battle of Bosworth is still a problem, and the Tudor indignation is still indignant.

Not everyone laughs when Henry I, who built for the royal treasure trove of Winchester in 1100, was still in the air with his brother William II’s corpse in a tragic “hunting accident.” I noticed. But what about Stephen Langton wielding Henry’s coronation vow to be John’s bad king? Siege of Rochester Castle? Or waterloo?

I think it’s all “ancient history”. But long before those who survived World War I for years were old and exhausted, those who served in Crimea were old or gone. Henry Allingham, the last survivor of the Dreadnought clash in the Battle of Jutland in 1916, died in 2009 at the age of 113. This is the last man of the Royal Naval Air Service and the last person to join the “white company”. And the last veteran of the Napoleonic Wars clearly lived longer than the Boer Wars.

These outliers are a long-running battle of history, from D-Day and Vimy to Trafalgar, Armada, Badon Hill, Horatius on the bridge, and the man who fell in front of the unnamed village of the story. Emphasizes the chain. The torch is passed from generation to generation, and the last post sounds for all of them.

It sounds like a battle that not only won but also lost. And every November 11th, for brave and devoted soldiers who deserve a better purpose than they fought, from Culloden’s Highlander to Pickett’s Charge Navy, the last Napoleon veteran, to Paul who fought the wrong way. Please do not hesitate to think about it. side.

There was definitely a bad guy. However, not all Allied soldiers were saints. And certainly, at least we have to pray for those who get lost as hard as those whose graveyard is a place of pilgrimage.

Then we have to pay new attention to the dead “in the field of Flanders”. This is not a pacifist poem.

“Take a quarrel with the enemy: / from the failed hand we throw to you / torch; / if you break your faith in us dying / we will not sleep, but poppies will grow Do / in the fields of Flanders. ‚ÄĚNeither is the grave known or remembered by so many other people.

So it sounds like the last post in Ottawa’s Menin Gate, and wherever people value freedom.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Robson

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John Robson is a documentary filmmaker, National Post columnist, Dorchester Review contributor editor, and Executive Director of Climate Discussion Nexus. His latest documentary is “Environment: True Story”.