Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance Day, 2011

Memorial on Arnhem Bridge
This year Remembrance Day, as they call it here in Canada and much of the world or Veteran's Day as it in the US, is a bit different for everyone and for myself.  It is the first one where there is not a single living combat veteran from the First World War.  Given that WWI spawned this special day, that is pretty significant.  This year, this day means a bit more to me as well, as last winter's research trip throughout the Benelux countries allowed me to do something that I had not done in my previous trips outside of North America--to drive. 

And drive I did, as I landed at the airport in Brussels and drive as directly as I could to Arnhem, the goal of Operation Market Garden in the fall of 1944.  That operation was to cross the Rhine and end the war earlier, perhaps saving many lives in the process.  The mission failed at a significant cost not just to the Allies but also the people of the Netherlands who had thought they had just been liberated. And now we have a phrase that lives in: A Bridge Too Far.

Anyhow, with a car, I was able to stop by a variety of historical sites, including battlefields and military cemeteries. Here are just a few of the many pictures I took along the way.  All I can say is that the travels certainly provided me with a large serving of perspective sauce.

Vimy Memorial

Vimy: Trenches

Canadian Military Cemetery, Netherlands

Easy Company Memorial,
next to where they fought in Bastogne
US Military Cemetery, Luxembourg
Memorial that used to exist at Camp Mirage for the Canadian losses in Afghanistan
The last two pictures are from different trips.  The first is a memorial that used to be at Camp Mirage, the support base for the Canadian effort in Afghanistan.  It has since been moved back to Canada since Dubai kicked the Canadians out of the base.

Australia War Museum

The second picture is from the Australian War Museum in Canberra.  It is an excellent museum that mostly focuses on the Aussie effort in the World Wars but also has parts on the subsequent wars.  Very moving and very informative.  And, given that poppies are the big theme these days for Remembrance Day in Canada, not a bad picture to conclude this post.

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