Flanders Fields

From 1914 to 1918, Flanders Fields was a major battle theatre on the Western Front during the First World War.   Today, the peaceful region still bears witness to this history through its monuments, museums, cemeteries and the countless individual stories that link it with the world.

We took an all day bus tour of the area and learned so much about a war I never even thought about.  These people fought to save their country while whole cities were being destroyed.  Bruges had no destruction while Ypres only about 30 miles away was completely destroyed.  Ypres has been rebuilt exactly as it was using some of the salvaged materials.  It looks just as old as the other cities we have seen.  A million soldiers from more than 50 different countries were wounded, missing or killed in action here.   A 4 year war that was fought within a very small region, where the battle lines went back and forth until the end.

Paul walking in the trenches

The Poppies are a symbol of Flanders Fields.  We were early so this all we got to see.  The color is spectacular.  Another interesting thing we learned is this is farm land and the farmers still to this day a 100 years later dig up shrapnel left from the battles.

A German bunker on Hill 60 a preserved battlefield.

Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War I cemetery on the southeast edge of the town of Waregem, . This is the only American World War I cemetery in Belgium and 411 American servicemen are buried or commemorated there.  The memorials in this area are abundant and so well kept.  They plant flowers annually in front of most of the gravestones.

I was not expecting much from this tour but by the end I was so impressed by the care that the Flemish people take to preserve this area and keep alive the battle that was fought to insure their freedom.  They are very appreciative of the efforts of all the Allies.

Comments are closed.