In the small town of Ieper they understand Remembrance.
Every night at 8:00 PM they have a ceremony they call the last post. The “Last Post” is actually a bugle call. A final homage to the fallen, as is tradition in the British Empire and it’s Allies. In the town of Ieper, under the Menin Gate, which holds the names of 55,000+ missing and fallen soldiers, this ceremony is held every night. It started in 1928, and has taken place over 30,000 consecutive days.
In Canada we pay tribute on to the fallen once a year – November 11 – Remembrance Day. But in Ieper they pay tribute every single day. The public gathers. The bugels play. The soldiers march. The music echoes throughout the gate. And many hands take turns laying a wreath at the gate – to remember those who have given so much for those who were yet to come.
Sullivan Heights was honoured to be able to not only attend this ceremony, but to participate in it. Two of our students, Shiraz and Justin, stood tall and proud as they marched under the gate to lay the wreath.
This wasn’t my first time in Ieper. I had attended this ceremony (twice) back in 2013. And every night it is different. But in some ways it is always the same. Close your eyes. Listen to the bugle. Remember the fallen. The more places I visit – the more battlefields I step on and memorial cemeteries I have seen, the more images that flash through my mind as I hear the notes ring out. There is something about this ceremony – this tradition – that is more rich than words can adequately express. I wish I could do it justice.
So for now all I can leave you with is a couple of photos, and a short video of our students paying their respects.
Justin and Shiraz Lay the Wreath:
For a video of the last post (from a previous ceremony), see here:
And for a video of the extended ceremony from the 30,000 anniversary of the Menin Gate Last post, see here: