Flanders commemorates the First World War
Flanders Fields Memorial Garden Canberra opened
On 4 April, the Flanders Fields Memorial Garden was opened in the Australian capital Canberra. This memorial garden is part of the Australian War Memorial and is a tribute to the thousands of Australian soldiers who fought and died during the First World War.
The opening ceremony was attended by Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General of Australia, Lieutenant-general Angus Campbell, Chief of Army, and Koen Verlaeckt, Secretary General of the Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs.
The memorial garden refers to the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae and to the three circular openings in the roof of the Menin Gate in Ieper. The Menin Gate has a special significance for the Australian population. Along the gate their troops marched to the front.
The garden contains earth from all military WWI heritage sites in Australia. Along with land that was symbolically collected over the years in Flanders; at Tyne Cot Cemetery, the forts of the Menin Gate, Polygon Wood, Toronto Avenue Cemetery and Hill 60.
"With the memorial garden in Canberra we realize a second permanent memory of Flanders Fields abroad. It is a place to honor the fallen soldiers and to commemorate and simultaneously a place of hope, peace, reconciliation and reflection," said Koen Verlaeckt.