The Menin Gate + ceremony

From the many pictures, I knew that Ypres would be a historically rich and magnificent city, but it turned out to be quite different than what I had in mind. Walking down underneath the Menin Gate, I was able to see the names of missing soldiers in massive quantities engraved on the stones, similar to that of Thiepval. Interestingly enough, I was able to find an entire stone dedicated to Gurkhas who fought at Ypres. For me, this brought a whole new dimension to the conflict. I never really thought that people from as small of a country as Nepal, one in which I have extensive history, would have fought and died here. I felt a deeper sense of loss in that so many soldiers from such a relatively small fighting force would have perished and been lost here. The feeling only grew during the Menin Gate ceremony, which I felt so privileged to witness. The most prominent part of the ceremony was definitely the music. It started with a proud opening fanfare and then proceeded to a bagpipe piece. The piece on the bagpipes resounded with me because of the stylistic choices made in the composition. The piece began with a melodious fanfare, somewhat similar to the trumpet piece. As the music weaved an atmosphere of honor and pride, it was cut short by a rather abrupt ending. The ending, coming out of nowhere, seemed to represent how the lives of the many lost men were cut tragically short. Here they were to fight for their countries with honor, and they ended up perishing in horrible ways, while not even getting the courtesy of a proper funeral. Despite the sorrow, which really seemed to hit me during the ceremony, it is comforting to see the many monuments such as the gate and Thiepval, and to know that these men will never be forgotten.

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One Response to The Menin Gate + ceremony

  1. cahagerman says:

    Great post. We really have been seeing evidence of the Gurkhas and the rest of the empire everywhere on this trip.

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