Danielle Iwata ’15, Jessica Muttitt ’15, Caitlin Sackrison ’15
This weekend our study group took a trip to Belgium! We spent Friday in Ypres (Ieper), a major battleground during WWI and then spent a few hours in Bruges on Saturday. We thought we would all share a few thoughts about our favorite part of the trip…
Danielle: After a full day of museums and cemeteries dedicated to the lost men and women of WWI, we attended the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. Every evening, people gather to pay tribute to the soldiers who died in the Ypres Salient. Caitlin, another study group member, and I had the opportunity to participate in the ceremony, laying a wreath in honor of those who fell (pictured above, left). It was an incredible experience to be able to pay our respects under the Menin Gate, where the names of thousands of British soldiers and allies who were never found are listed.
Jessica: My favorite part of the trip was getting to experience the WWI trenches (pictured above, top right) at the Sanctuary Wood Museum. Actually walking through them (and sinking into the mud as I went!) allowed me to understand what those men experienced – and I wasn’t being shot at by an enemy! We were able to explore the trenches and tunnels for an hour or so and also saw the collection of artifacts the museum exhibits, including helmets, uniforms, recruitment posters, and photographs.
Caitlin: This was the first time I visited mainland Europe, and as a history major with a specific interest in French history, I couldn’t stop smiling as we crossed the Chunnel! Traveling from Calais, to Ypres, and then to Bruges, it was amazing to see the WWI battlefields and surrounding area. The trip was amazing and I am so thankful that I was able to spend it with the Colgate History group.