Saturday, 13 August 2011

The greatest lesson in humility, was the honour of being able to visit France, in the company of just some of the children, who lost their fathers in World War One.

Organised by the British Legion, it was the first time I had ever contemplated such a visit but within the time travelling, I was privileged to get to know some amazing people, whose lives were directly shaped, by the catalyst of events, which started nearly one hundred years ago.

Nothing speaks more profoundly about a collective understanding of heritage, than the sight and the thousands of names listed on the Thiepval Memorial, or the imposing view of the Canadian Vimy Memorial and its carefully crafted sculptures, which now both stand as a constant call to remember those men who perished.

Equally as powerful, was walking into the grave yards, where at the entrance’s were books of condolences‘ and engraved on each tombstone was the name, date, regiment and religion of the many men who were mourned by their mothers, daughters, sisters or wives back home in Britain.

For some of the elderly, whose fathers were buried in those grave yards, it was for them, the first time that some had been able to visit their parent and one woman had also been joined by her daughter, so that she could also pay respects to her grandfather.

As they laid down their poppy wreaths and as the Exhortation was read out, it was like the opening of old wounds, to hear the admission coming from one woman‘s mouth, that time alone would now prevent her and the rest of these children, from visiting their fathers again.


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