When you walk for days and days, sometimes they blur together. Despite what I say in this update, it was day 18 and not 17.
Today will be a short post for two reasons:
First, it was a tough day of slogging through some mud and honestly I’m kind of tired.
Second, we passed our first true WWI cemetery, and I was personally struck by it. Please watch this video.
If you find it is a bit too long, just remember that this is one row of many in a relatively tiny cemetery in a somewhat insignificant battlefield in a smaller section of WWI.
Each stone is someone’s son, husband, father, brother, or sister.
I knew nothing of the “Sunken Road”, but I learned today. If history is your thing, I’ve copied over some information and posted it on the History Bits page.
We’ve passed other memorials and private cemeteries before this one, but this was the first of many military battlefield cemeteries. It was the sight of a military hospital. It’s location was such that I could imagine the whole battlefield laid before me as we walked through the area.
“That field would have been a trap.”
“That hill would have been significant.”
“The stream here would have been red with blood.”
It was all very close and shockingly very real.
As I mentioned, it was muddy. I’d read about the mud sucking soldiers and animals down. I can believe it! It was a sticky kind of mud. The inch or two that we trod through wrapped around our shoes and latched onto them mercilessly. I can only imagine what a field turned upside down by artillery could have been like. I almost felt ashamed at the inconvenience the mud was to us.
The boys that lived through this were no different than us. To say they were superheros is wrong. Most wouldn’t have wanted to be there. To live through it was all they could strive to do. But the fact that they suffered here is enough – they and all of those have given all or a portion of their lives in military service deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.
So to my Father and Father-in-Law, to my brother and brother-in-law and to all the other veterans that I know – Thank You.