Visit to West-Flanders and WWI Sites

During the American Embassy visit to West Flanders on Friday August 3, 2012, the Embassy delegation toured battle sites, museums, monuments, and cemeteries commemorating the loss of life during the First World War.  The first stop of the visit was in Zonnebeke at the Memorial Museum in Passchendaele.  The delegation received a tour of the museum as well as the reconstructions of trenches made to look as they might have looked during the war.  Walking around in these trenches was an incredible experience.  It brings history to life and gives the visitor a much better sense of what life might have been like for the soldiers who fought and died in these places.

After the visit to Passchendaele, the Embassy delegation visited Tyne Cot cemetery.  This cemetery serves a burial ground for the Common Wealth soldiers who died in Ypres during the First World War.  The sheer number of graves and the vastness of the surrounding countryside create a somber, but peaceful mood. More photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/us_ambassador_gutman/sets/72157630950789658/

Additionally, the delegation visited the town of Ypres and later returned to view the emotional last post ceremony, which is performed nightly at the Menin Gate Memorial to the missing.  After leaving the ceremony, the delegation made one last stop at the Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial.  This beautiful space was made even more brilliant by the rainbow that appeared during the visit.  More spectacular photos from this fortunate timing can be seen both here and on our Flickr stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/us_ambassador_gutman/sets/72157630950789658/

 

Text and photos: Rachel Kimmel

 

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