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11/11/18: Where to remember the end of the Great War?

Hello all!

Next year will see the 100th anniversary of the end of Great War. As a bit of a WWI history buff, I'd like to visit Europe during this time since Armistice Day counts for nothing over here in the US.

I have about 7 days off (two weekends + 5 weekdays -2 days travel) that I can use and money's not really an issue. As such, I've been toying with two possible trips:

  1. Blighty:
  • Fly into London, HQ at my fave spot in Fulham (The Malthouse: inexpensive, located on a main line and close to a lot of cool stuff). Spend my time pre-11/11 time visiting museums after visiting pubs: also, pubs. Try to get to the Cenotaph along with 30 million other Brits on the 11th. Hope it doesn't rain (it'll rain). Amuse HRM with travel stories (possibly; depends on what kinda mood Liz is in). Go home on Monday.

  • or -

  1. Ypres:
  • Fly into Amsterdam; stay a few nights in the City of the Killer Bicycles and Cheap Beer. So cheap. So wonderfully, wonderfully cheap! Cheaper than the water; cheaper than your life in the bike lanes. Hope that this time football hools don't take over the city (they were very nicely-behaved hools in Amsterdam, unlike the joyous and generally suffering from uncontrolled reverse-parastalsis crowd that spilled into the streets in Fulham). After living all that life has to offer in in Ol' Amsterdam, sod off for Brugges via the ever-efficient European rail system for a stay of three days, heading to Ypres (Menin Gate) for the day on the 11th. Train back to Amsterdam on the 12th and fly home.

I'm pretty much resigned to the fact I'm not the only person who has thought of going to either location for 11/11/18. I suspect there'll be just shy of a bazillion people in either place, but I'm trying to view that as a positive: a group of like-minded people of different nations sharing a once-in-a-century event. Given the 11th is on a Sunday of what I'm sure will be a three-day weekend on the Continent, I'm counting on a lot of company.

Aaaaanyway, them's my options, unless you tre' clever folks can think of something else?

Thanks!

-- Mike Beebe

Posted by
359 posts

Hi Mike, Good for you wanting to witness this special memorial. The latest is that HM Queen Elizabeth 11 will not be at the Cenotaph this year. Her son HRH Prince Charles will act in her place. You can always come north to Vancouver, I think that we do Remembrance Day ceremonies quite well up here.

Posted by
414 posts

I'd go to the Ypres area. I suspect there will be more going on in that time period than just events at the sites you mentioned, so you might have many opportunities to pay your respects. Having just been at Menin Gate in September, normal daily tributes to the fallen are very busy in a relatively confined space, so I can imaging that a special event would be swamped with people. The Ypres Salient battle area has a number of British, Canadian, Australian, etc memorials and museums that commemorate the soldiers that you might find interesting. Ypres is a good base to stay in. I'm sure there would be many things going on that you would find interesting. The beer is really good too.... just saying...... and chocolate.

Posted by
433 posts

I vote Ypres, the itinerary is more diverse than London. And I loved your post on Flanders.

But you can't go wrong when picking between pubs or cheap beer! 🤔

Enjoy the planning and the trip!

Posted by
1859 posts

I'd say spend your time Ypres, too, but just in case you end up staying in England, maybe this emotional and very touching memorial will be somewhere close to where you will be? One of the poppies is actually my garden at home but I doubt you want to come to Colorado! I saw the sculptures in London, at the Tower of London. It was quite incredible and I have never seen anything like it anywhere......here's an explanation: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-29965477

Posted by
356 posts

We just visited Verdun on the RS Eastern France tour. Powerful experience to be there , tour the bunkers and reflect on the magnitude of loss. I imagine the ceremonies there will be unforgettable.

Posted by
1464 posts

Next year it will be 100 years ago that the Armistice of 1918 was signed, but the first anniversary was a year later in 1919, so the 100th anniversary will be in 2019! Nevertheless 2018 will be the big event to remember and the BBC will be anyway present and maybe there will be a big show too like last summer remembering that horrible Battle of Passchendaele.

I have attended the 11/11 ceremonie for the last three years in Ypres and you will not go wrong there next year. As in 2014 some members of the British Royal family will be certainly present, together with many military marching bands. The Last Post and speeches will not be held 8PM in the evening, but 11AM in the morning under the Menin Gate. Arrive early to have a good place for watching the ceremonie there or otherwise you can go to the Main Square viewing the large screen. If you arrive around 10AM I think you can find that good spot, anyway there is a little inn making waiting a bit easier, if it is open around that time ofcourse.

Best is to follow media for up-to-date info concerning ceremonies and other events, hopefully this website can be of use: http://www.toerismeieper.be/en Certainly there will be interesting ceremonies next year in London/UK too, but I have no info about that.

Posted by
5167 posts

If you don't make it over there, the official National WWI Memorial and Museum is here in Kansas City, Missouri, and is a first class exhibit and facility, with the landmark Liberty Memorial tower having been built in the '20s by private donation. There will likely be commemorative events scheduled, as there have been for most major anniversaries of the Great War.

Posted by
352 posts

So many excellent ideas!

  1. Vancouver: I know where I'm going on 11/11 of this year now! Any suggestions of where to be in the city?

  2. Ypres it is! I much like the idea of 11:00am ceremony instead of the normal 8:00pm. Makes getting back to Brugges less dicey.

  3. The World War I Memorial in KC is one of the items on my Bucket List.

  4. I'm heading to Verdun in 2019. I know it'll be one of the highlights of that trip!

Thanks to all you wonderful people!

-- Mike Beebe

Posted by
1464 posts

It remains possible that the BBC not only report the ceremony in the morning (as usual) but also will organize a big show in Ypres as a final conclusion of all the remembering events of the last five years. And that show will be likely in the evening like last summer.......

Posted by
504 posts

I'm going to the American cemetary at Wagrem. The fact that my grandfather was born there, and my grandmother in nearby Kortrijk, has something to do with it.