26 January, 2021 - 27 January, 2021
28 January, 2021 - 29 January, 2021
01 February, 2021 - 05 February, 2021
03 February, 2021 - 04 February, 2021
15 February, 2021 - 19 February, 2021
It is a Sunday night in June and we are listening to four Belgian fire-fighters are playing the Last Post in Ypres. It is an event that has gone on uninterrupted since the 1920s. So much so that it has become somewhat of a tourist attraction; yet its poignancy in remembering the 1.7 million soldiers and civilians from all sides who died in the area during the Great War from 1914-1918 seems to capture everyone, young and old, who attends. It is held in the Menin Gate, a huge rebuilt entry gate to the city, which serves as a monument to some 54,000 soldiers whose bodies were never found.
We were there as on the June 29, 1915 my wife's grandfather was killed by artillery fire at the front on the Belgian-French border somewhere near Armentieres. We are fortunate that we know where he was buried and could visit his grave in nearby Houplines. Any one who visits this region and tours just a few of around 200 war cemeteries in the Ypres area and contemplates the horrendous destruction that four miserable years of fighting caused to an entire country cannot but consider that talking, however tedious, is a far better solution to try and stick with than fighting. Suddenly one remembers why we started the EU and its huge significance in ensuring a peaceful future for us all.
With worries right now about Greece and the possible UK departure from the EU for both financial and political reasons, the geopolitics of what is going on seems to be getting lost just at a moment when events in Ukraine, Georgia and the Mediterranean Sea have become exceptionally difficult.
In the leather industry, given relatively free trade and peaceful circumstances, we can continue to contribute to a world that trades and improves the quality of life of the poor around the world. The leather trade requires strong trading bodies around the world and a stable business environment. Perhaps we should make all our politicians attend the Last Post in Ypres.
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