Legends from our own lunchtimes

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Friday 14th September - Diksmuide

We’ve seen the happy sculptures in the Market Square, we’ve spent hours descending the Ijzer Tower museum and while we are definitely pacing ourselves, the day felt just about right for a picnic at the “Trench of Death”; a restored or perhaps enhanced rather than preserved section of World War One battlefield which Tourism Diksmuide describes as “a touching tourist highlight since 1919”.

The trenches may have been sanitised to enable us to visit without wading calf deep in bloody mud, and filthy clay sods and sandbags have been replaced by concrete filled bags, the sloppy black killing fields beyond are now happy green pasturelands, but the photographs exhibited in the very spots where they were taken pull no punches.  To try to understand the scale of what once was is an exercise as futile as war itself.

We’ve often thought that this sort of “education” is wasted on those of our age, that every school child should be compelled to visit places like this, yet today as we watched a class of teenagers romp through as teenagers are wont to do, we wondered if the highlight of their day wasn’t their excursion on pedal go-karts.  Elsewhere, an explanation being given to a group of six year olds did touch us, but in a way that in polite society would normally require consent.  

Neither touching, nor a highlight we thought, but a visit to the "Trench of Death" is time not wasted none the less.


1 comment

Unknown said...

I had a similar feeling when we visited Tyne Cot cemetery and saw kids climbing all over the solemn memorials. No respect I thought at the time and yes, that's true but isn't it also what all those poor young men sacrificed their lives for? The freedom to be? I kind of hope that those young people will become old people one day and honour the sacrifice in a more solemn way and maybe reflect on their youthful behaviour

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