A beautiful green oasis of calm in the middle of this busy world was last night the most perfect way for the countries involved in the Great War to unite to remember the tragic loss of life. The service or maybe it would be better called a reflection, brought together representatives from both sides of the conflict. This event took place in one of the smaller War graves cemetery close to Mons, in Belgrade, where the first losses of the conflict took place. This was a green oasis were the dead from both sides were buried, sometimes side by side German and British united in death. All respectfully honoured. The cemetery layout being a combination of the German woodland style and the British floral tributes and gardens.
This place was the perfect stage for this tribute, music played by a mixture of musicians from the great orchestras of Germany and Britain . Readings of personal letters home from soldiers in the War being read out by their descendants or by service personnel made it a touching emotional tribute. The choirs again a mix of German and British, sang beautiful anthems and songs, including what you would recognise as an Elvis Presley number but to Germans is a folk song 'Wooden Heart'. A special piece written by a 12-year-old school girl and sung by a small group of children lead by Gareth Malone; the voices of the young and old all paying their own tribute. Hearing the words read by soldiers, grandchildren, actors and actresses whilst standing beside the graves was a magical moment which tugged at the heart strings. The whole event brought together by Dan Snow.
The laying of flowers from the local area and lit lanterns around the central memorial as the evening drew in was a moving finale. The majority of the leaders from the countries involved in the War were there to pay their respects and to be united . It was particularly poignant that within this cemetery are the graves of the first soldier killed in the conflict and the last soldiers killed who died hours or minutes before the end of the war. Mons was the location of beginning and the end of the Great War. This ceremony will show that they will not be forgotten.