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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Day of Remembrance

Today, 11th November, we remember the end of World War One. As usual, at 11 a.m., the Last Post was blown under the Ieper Gate.

I wasn't there to watch it, but I keep my grandfather's memory in mind. Alfred Urbain (1897-1973) was only a boy of not even 17 when he was called away from military academy to fight in a war so terrible he never spoke about it. He had the command over men who were at least twice his age but who adored their 'little one'.

Granddad was caught by the poisonous gas and was also shot a couple of times. And once more, in 1940, he was fighting another world war. This one he talked about. He told me stories of how he escaped from the POW camp in Germany and went underground in the south of France. He stayed and worked there at a local vineyard - hence his love for a good glass of wine. And when the Germans were losing the war and he returned to Belgium, he hid himself in the cellar of a neighbor. Grandma proudly told us how our mother - aged 13 - could lie to the Gestapo and tell them she hadn't seen her dad in over 3 years. Her boys wouldn't have been able to pull that off.

Yes, I fondly remember my grandparents and my parents. They have all died now, my sister and I are the only ones left. But they still live on in our minds.

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