This was first posted on Flickr in 2004. It is a subject of great interest. I have not changed the text as it is as relevant today as it was nine years ago – and will remain so!
On the 11th November 2004 my wife Ghislaine and I visited the Chemin des Dames, 80 kilometres of East of Paris. One of the killing grounds of WW1
We left for the cemetery of Cerny en Laonnois. Soon after we arrived 3 buses of youngsters arrived from Seine Saint Dennis (93). These youngsters of different religions and origins were commemorating the armistice of the 11th November 1918 with the association “La Fraternity of Abraham,” an association that brings children of different backgrounds and religions together to learn to live in harmony with each other.
For some among them their forebear’s came from Africa and other colonies of France and had given their life for France. Their reactions moved us and astonished us, like the young boy who looked at the grave stones and exclaimed “THEY ALL DIED FOR FRANCE” or the girl of 14 years of age who did not like the idea that a German cemetery was placed right next to the French cemetery!
While seeing these youngsters and their reactions we saw a ray of hope for tomorrow because these young people will make tomorrow, and most important of all, they were there today to remember or at least to be reminded of what took place 80 years ago, (now 100 years ago).
I have visited and photographed many of the battle grounds of the Great War – World War I – and for me this is one of the most poignant images of the futility of war. When Wars get mixed up, or at least the dead!! The German military cemetery from the second world war at Le Fort de la Malmasion. There are over 11000 German dead laid to rest here which is in front of an area that was heavily fought over in the first world war.
I make to difference in my homage to the fallen of all wars and with all due respect to those that gave their lives and continue to give their lives in conflicts around the world I support Peace One Day