Monday, November 11, 2013

Hallowed Ground

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, Veteran's Day and Armistice Day elsewhere; it is the commemoration of the end of the First World War on November 11th, 1918, nearly a century ago now, as well as a day to honour veterans and war dead in many countries around the world. I will be at the services at the War Memorial today, and dropping in at our War Museum as well, so you can expect pics to come. For today and tomorrow, I'll be showing you the interior of the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill. If you're so inclined, check my writer's blog for a post on the Somme, and a guest post I wrote on the soldier and poet John McCrae. 


When Centre Block was rebuilt, the Peace Tower was erected in memory of the dead of the First World War. The Memorial Chamber was integral to the Tower, a commemoration of the many dead through the War, and is now dedicated to all who have died in military service in our country's history. The room is a quiet, reflective space, with books listing the dead of World War One, World War Two, Korea, the Merchant Navy, and other conflicts and operations before and since those wars. Each of these books are placed in elaborate cases, the pages turned once a day,  for something like the above case, which houses the book listing the Canadian dead of the First World War.

Around the walls of the room, panels are carved with the years of conflicts,  theatres of war, and specific battles. There are other panels that include scripture or poetry carved into the stone.




The books are all under glass, and the names of the past reach out to us across time. They were young men, serving their king and country in some far away place, and they died a long way from home.


This closeup of the book for the Great War, as it was called, vexed me, because I was trying not to get the reflection of a stained glass window above. Actually, it works.




26 comments:

  1. This past week we walked around an cemetery in Lyme, CT and there were many very old headstones for men who had died in various wars from the Civil War, Revolutionary, French Indian, and Wat of 1812. While it was interesting to read the old and weathered tombstones, it was also a sobering fact of the lives lost to give freedom to others.

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    1. It strikes me reading that list of the older wars, how so very closely interwined our two countries are.

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  2. sad reminder....enjoy your day at the museum :)

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    1. It was a very busy one, but well worthwhile.

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  3. Lest we forget.

    I love the last photo and think that the reflection of the stained glass adds an artistic element that also evokes some emotion.

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  4. I can't even find the words. I wonder what it would be like to live in a world without war.

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  5. I spent a few years travelling around France and I was very moved by the memorials in every small town to those lost in the Great War. Reading the names you could see entire families had been killed. Such a tragedy.

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    1. The small towns can sometimes be the most affected. I'm reminded of a cenotaph in a small Ontario town that might have only had a few hundred people during the Second World War. Six of their men died in the war. Everyone in that town would have known at least one, and that's not counting other locals who went overseas too.

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  6. You are right... that reflection of the stained glass window on the book is perfect... visually and ironically.

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    1. Sometimes the pic turns out despite what one thinks might be the result.

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  7. I really like the way the stained glass is reflected onto the book. Very artsy!

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  8. It`s sad. War is a sad and stupid. Beauty quiet pictures. The one with the stained glass reflection is great. Thank You.

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  9. Fabulous post for the day. I like the reflection of the stained glass too.

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  10. I found reading the names written in the book to be very poignant - perhaps more so than names engraved on cenotaph.

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    1. So many of them, most of them were younger now than I am now. It really gets to you that way.

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  11. Yes, it is mostly the young men that die, and still the wars continue. Do I believe they will stop. Yes, when the Earth is no more.

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  12. This is such a beautiful sanctuary. I really like that last shot with the stained glass reflected.

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