Saturday, March 21, 2009

Known But to God...

Today I undertook a 7 hour hike to visit the WW 1 battle sites around Mons, Belgium. The first battle of that conflict was fought near here, and there is also a lovely, sad and very beautiful military cemetery that I walked to, ( St . Symphorien war cemetery.)

It took forever to get there, and my ill fitting
hiking shoes took a toll on me...But, the quiet and solemn place really brought a tear to my eye. The graves are of both German and British /Irish/Canadian soldiers...They are mingled together in death, and the site is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission...It is set in a small, tiered area. It contains quiet glades and small sun drenched alcoves and small clusters of graves. It is indescribable, with the leaves, budding flowers, sun and quiet rustling of the trees. I was there alone, yet the place did not feel lonely. It felt like something I can't describe, beautiful...Like love? I don't know...
I determined that there was nothing I could do to honor these men more than just living life. I looked to the sun and felt it warm my face as the shadows flickered over the setting. Thinking of these dead, while I was living life...What else could I do to honor them?

I had packed a Thermos of tea and I quaffed a plastic mug of the stuff - feeling the drink refresh me. How lucky I was to enjoy that...It was all I had to toast them...

I felt honored to be there in their presence...

Great post by another blogger here on this deeply moving place...

1 comment:

bigD said...

Hi Army Poet,
This was a nice post. hiked for seven hours? That is a lot of hiking? I hope the weather was nice. It sounds like it was quite an experience. I am glad you were able to have some quiet moments to reflect. Your description of what you were feeling is beautiful.
To me military cemeteries ARE deeply moving places. There are so many emotions that are felt, so many questions to be asked, so much deeper reflection that often takes place when one thinks about how these soldiers lived and died. Are we worthy of their sacrifice? Are we living our lives in a way that would honor them? Have you ever heard of this poem by Eleanor Roosvelt? It is said she would carry it in her wallet during WWII.

Eleanor Roosevelt's Wartime Prayer

Dear Lord,

Lest I continue
My complacent way,
Help me to remember that
Somehow out there
A man died for me today.
As long as there be war,
I then must
Ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?

Take good care of you Simon. I hope you are safe and sound and happy.