Sunday, 25 October 2015
The second Belgian Memorial Day was held at the colonne du Congrès, in rue Royale in Brussels, on Saturday. It is in memory of the civilian and military Belgian and foreign (Great Britain, Canada, India, Germany, France) victims of the 14-18 war, who died on Belgian soil in 1915. Three thousand eight hundred names were put forward by members of the civil societies and armies that took part in the conflict.
The ceremony took place between 2pm and 6pm. It focused on the Belgian regiments that defended Yser, who were hit by a gas attack during the First World War. It also honoured Belgian resistance members who were shot in 1915, and civilians. British nurse Edith Cavell, who was convicted by the German occupying forces for her patriotic activities and for organising an escape route for British soldiers, was also remembered.
“This ceremony is a way to show our gratitude by remembering both military and civilian victims who died in 1915. They suffered greatly, and made an enormous sacrifice so that we could continue to live under a democracy. Saying thank you once a year is the least we can do, and remembering their names is a way to touch hearts and personalise their memory. There is no better show of loyalty than to name them alongside the Unknown soldier, who represents them”, says Jean-Pierre Schellekens, president of the Belgian National Memorial committee.