Postcard of the Week: Ypres, Belgium

Menin Gate

In 2009, we paused before the Menin Gate, a memorial to Commonwealth soldiers killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown. Five of Maurie’s great uncles almost certainly passed through the gate on their way to the front lines. Only two came home. Every evening at 8pm, the road passing through the Menin Gate is closed and a bugler plays the Last Post. The ceremony has been conducted every night since 1928 (except during the German occupation of WWII). I first witnessed this incredibly moving ceremony more than 30 years ago when we had the place almost to ourselves. These days you have to battle the crowds but it’s still hard not to shed a tear for the nearly 55,000 soldiers listed on its walls. The carved lions that originally adorned the Menin Gate are now at the entrance to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, where the Last Post is also played at 5pm each day. Lest we forget.

Photo & text © Christine Salins

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