At 8pm each and every evening, buglers from the Ypres Fire Service hold an act of remembrance under the Menin Gate and play the Last Post before observing a minute’s silence. This act of remembrance has occurred daily since 1929. The only time it has not happened is during the German occupation in WW2. The very day the Germans left the buglers were back under the gate and the Last Post sounded.
During the lockdown periods of the pandemic, a fireman continued to turn up each evening to carry out this poignant and much-loved tradition (he was accompanied by a single police office who was supposed to send any on-lookers on their way). As a local lady said to me, “We saw no reason to stop.”
The ceremony can become crowded (and if I subsequently come down with Covid, I’ll have picked it up under the Menin Gate) but I found that the majority of people were respectful. There’s probably too much filming/photography for Instagram going on but, as I also took a few photos and a video, I can’t really complain.
“The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them.”Czeslaw Milosz