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Thank you veterans and the fallen on this Rememberance/Veterans day


DangerBoy
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While on tour in Holland with a musical group in 1995, I made a solo pilgramage to the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetary near Nijmegen. Interred there are the remains of 2,338 brave Canadian soldiers who died fighting for our freedom in WWII. As I stood there looking at the wide expanse of white headstones, I tried to imagine a soldier standing at attention beside each one of the stones. I saw it in my mind's eye and was instantly overcome with emotion and wept.

 

To pay my respect, I walked up and down each row and looked at every headstone. Almost all those men were between 18 and 22 years old when they died. A few were as "old" as 26 or 27. It was hard to grasp the magnitude of all that. Such a waste of young lives!

 

Along the way, I saw this headstone with this most poignant and thought provoking epitaph. I was so taken with the emotion invoked by its message and the eloquence of it, I had to photograph it. How hard it would be to lose your 19 year old son/daughter/brother/sister to senseless agression and war and come to terms with it. The epitaph so beautifully expresses the challenge it is to understand why so many have had to die so young in so many wars.

 

I don't know anything about you, Private William John Hamilton, and I don't know where your family is but I have immense respect and feel a debt of humble gratitude to you and all your brothers in arms in all the wars. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you for your brave sacrifice and thank you for the freedom you paid so dearly to win for us. I will never forget you and will always be in your debt.

 

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So many people from around the world died. In the North of England the men from the same town or village served together for companionship. It meant that they died on the same day when the whistle blew for them to go over the top of the trench ... In the village where I grew up there were large poppies attached to lamp posts with the names of those who died and the date they were killed.

At the Tower of London thousands of flames were lit:

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