We did not expect to get caught up in the joy of meeting the other families who, like us, have a somewhat personal connection to this war. No, I did not live through food rations, or buy war bonds or hear terror stories of the air raids in London. But I remember hearing those stories from my mother because that was part of her experience as a child in war time. .
It remains a personal regret that I did not take my mother to visit her brothers grave site but I know she would be proud that we made this visit in her memory and to honour her brother and his fellow airmen.
Click here to get a recap of the story....
Bryan whisked us off to the Canadian Memorial of Tigelot to see the monument.
(left to right is my sis-in-law Liz, brother Steve, brother Greg, me and cousin Kim, Kim's husband Dan and Leon Boulet, the President and honorary family member)
Here is the "Judges Clan" - cousin Kim, Steve, Lisa and Greg. This 60th Ceremony marks the first time any member of the Judges family (Gordon Judges family) has attended this service.
And here is Bryan, the man we are grateful to for informing us of this wonderful event, Dan, Kim and Leon Boulet.
Following those brief introductions, we were then whisked off to the local pub which is owned by the man who actually witnessed the Halifax bomber's crash. There are even photos of the Halifax bomber crash posted in the pub....
We met the Adans family and families who were also attending the service to remember their relatives. A quick afternoon cocktail was followed by a wonderful meal at the Hotel De Cremaillere in Jalhay.
By the morning of the service I began to realized this memorial service was not just a family affair. There were folks from several military and veteran affiliated organizations from across the UK, Europe, Canada and the like. Representatives from various Legions, veterans from the 77th Squadron, men and women currently in military service but stationed in Germany, the local media, the Jalhay mayor, and even the Canadian ambassador to Belgium came to represent the Government of Canada.
|The Adans family|
Hundreds of people attended the church service which included a full flag ceremony, a choir singing the anthems of the Commonwealth countries and a full memorial service to honour these 7 airmen. Immediately following, a crowd gathered at the site of the Canadian Memorial Tigelot to conduct a formal wreath laying ceremony and short sermon. The site was showered with wreaths and flowers.
An afternoon long luncheon was attended by some hundred people or so, gathered to honour and remember these 7 airmen as well as the Adans and Boulet families for their ongoing commitment to maintaining this annual service and memorial site.
|WW 2 veteran and 77th Squadron RAF Ralph discusses his log book with Steve and Greg.|
|Anne Christy Adans and husband|
|Here is a man dedicated to the 77th Squadron RAF in Elvington, England.|
|Ralph and his daughter come every year when able.|
Click here to see a local newscast of the ceremony (in French only, however)
And now we have a very personal connection with other families who have this similar experience.
|Harry Payne is the brother of airmen Edward Payne, flight engineer|
|The handsome Payne men - 3 generations - son Lance, Harry (brother of Edward Payne, Flight Engineer), grandson|
|Marie Josee (nee Adans) and husband Leon Boulet, our new family in Belgium.|