By Nicole Blazejewski, Steve Cancel, Amanda Earle, Ellen Fitzsimmons, Glisban Machado, Nicole Owenburg, and Allyson Talbot
From Amsterdam, we arrived in Iepers, Belgium, a gem of a city. The city’s Gothic cathedral and Cloth Hall dominate the stone streets of this clean, classy city. We sampled Belgian chocolate, coffee, and several fashion boutiques before observing the Ieper’s signature event—the Last Post Ceremony that honors those who died in the several World War I battles in the Ieper salient. With hundreds of other people, we gathered at the Menin Gate (whose interior walls are inscribed with the names of the Allies who died in the Ieper’s salient). We met friendly spectators from Belgium and elsewhere. Stirring musical laments were offered by bagpipes and a marching band. Tonight’s extended ceremony also honored Belgian veterans and commandoes who fought in other wars, as well as a former World War II British paratrooper. After, the powerful ceremony ended, we dined at Restaurant Ecurie, ending a memorial day with a nice meal.