Tuesday 13 December, 2005


Filed under: Claire's Entries — claire @ 2:08 pm

On Sunday Jim and I went for a drive to visit the town of Amiens, home to Frances largest gothic cathedral. Incidentally cathedral is my favourite word to hear spoken in French, don’t know why but it makes me smile, none so queer as folks! The cathedral was indeed awe inspiring, particularly the immense arches of the exterior and the choir stalls, separated by wrought iron gates, inside. It was a very cold day yet with much sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. The light illuminated the cathedral and gave it the most beautiful golden hue, set against the clear blue sky it was superb. And yes superb is my favourite French word to say.

On the way to Amiens we stopped to visit the Australian National WWI Memorial. Of the 60,000 men who lost their lives in WWI, 46,000 died on The Western Front, it extends from the north of France into Belgium. There are many marked and unmarked graves and as well the memorial names the thousands of soldiers who went missing. It is located outside of any towns, amidst fields and is not in an area that would hold much attraction for tourists. Yet looking through the visitors book I could not find a single day that some Aussie hadn’t found their way there. In true Australian fashion actions spoke louder than words and the comments where short, most commonly lest we forget. My favourite, thanks boys. No matter how much we deplore war these individuals who lived and died in unimaginable circumstances deserve not to be forgotten and our thanks for what has and can be learnt. I heard the story that at an Australian memorial, somewhere in Belgium, there is a man who carves small soldiers to give to visiting Australians to take home with them. His wish is to send home the same number of soldiers that died there, that didn’t make it home.

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