On August 23, two days from now, Sarah and I will take part in ceremonies in Mons, Belgium commemorating the first battle between the British and the Germans on this same date one hundred years ago. The Germans predicted and promised that the war would be over, and Germany victorious, before Christmas of that year. In fact, the hope was that it would be over “before the leaves turned.” As we know, the war ended four years and two months later. More than 9 million soldiers died and 7 million civilians. These numbers are beyond our comprehension. The world was turned upside down. Nothing good came of it.
Sadly, I am reminded of the predictions made by our own political leaders regarding the war in Iraq. Weeks or a couple of months at the outside. We would be hailed as liberators. That was the promise of those in the administration. Ten years later the war came to a miserable end.
The events we will take part in in Mons
> From 10am until 4pm: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is organising an open day at St. Symphorien Military Cemetery. The CWGC invites you to find out about the different skills used withintheir association, including stone engravers, gardeners, historians, tree surgeons and bronzeworkers.
> From 10am until 5:30pm: An additional educational camp will be open, with representatives from the British infantry and cavalry, in UCL Mons’ fields next to the commemorative sites at La Bascule. Throughout the day visitors will be able to watch training exercises involving the horses.
> 9pm: Military music concert in the Grand’ Place in Mons including the participation of Pipe Bands (Celtic Passion from Mons and the Somme Battlefield Pipe Band) and a unique performance by the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.
> 10:30pm: 3D screening in the Grand’Place in Mons, with stunning pyrotechnics in memory of thelegendary appearance of the Angels of Mons.
Be with us in spirit and prayer. It is always my hope that the world will see peace for all, and peace everlasting. I am sure that you share this hope and do what you can to see its fulfillment.
It would be fitting for you to be reading The Angel of Mons: A World War I Legend on August 23. If not then, read it soon, and let me know what you think of it.