All’s not fair in love and war
“Lest we forget” is our heartfelt pledge to all the people who have paid the highest price in defense of their country’s borders or beliefs.
Historic sites around the world are important reminders of what took place at less peaceful times. These war memorials help us understand what people were forced to endure and bring to life the tragic events of our past.
To stand for a moment where a battle took place or to see where a bomb has fallen is an extremely powerful and sobering experience. For many travellers, as well as it being an opportunity to pay our respects, visiting these sites offers a deeper appreciation of a country and its people.
Anzac Cove, Turkey
On April 25th, 1915, Allied troops landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The military campaign that followed was disastrous for the Allies, yet came to define the national psyches of Australia and New Zealand. The cove is beautiful and serene – a stark contrast to the stories you will hear of the events that unfolded here.
There is now an annual pilgrimage to these solemn battlefields on the anniversary of the landing and Anzac Day on April 25, 2014, is your chance to walk through the trenches, attend a moving dawn service and hear the stories of heroism and camaraderie immortalised in Anzac history. 2015 marks 100 years since Allied troops faught in Gallipoli and places are available now for the special Centenary Anzac Day Service.
Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park was the political and commercial hub of the city before that fateful day on 6 August, 1945. Today the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the ruins of the A-Bomb Dome are horrifying reminders of the destruction of nuclear war. Visiting the museum is upsetting, but in the emotional and well-presented displays there is also the uplifting message that we should not take peace for granted.
Each year in April or May, thousands of Jewish teens, adults and a dwindling number of survivors join the ‘March of the Living’ alongside people of diverse faiths and backgrounds from around the world. This 3 kilometre walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau is a silent tribute to all the victims of the Holocaust.
In 1942, Auschwitz concentration camp was the Nazi’s largest site for the extermination of Jews. More than 1,100,000 men, women and children lost their lives here and today the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau is a remarkable and disturbingly authentic memorial that helps us to understand what happened here more fully.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
You will be confronted by Cambodia’s tragic past on a guided tour of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school that served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre. It’s estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured in this eerily ordinary suburban setting. Each prisoner was photographed, sometimes before and after torture, and these chilling black-and-white photos are now displayed on the museum walls. This museum serves as a testament to the horrific crimes of the Khmer Rouge and displays with unnerving clarity the darkest side of human behaviour.
Sadly the list goes on of more historic sites across our planet that honour those who have been affected by the horrors of war. Taking the time to visit these sites won’t be the one of the fun things you’ll do on your travels, most likely the complete opposite, but they are very moving experiences and poignant reminders of why we cannot let this happen again.
Have you ever visited a war memorial or battlefield that left a lasting impression?
Photo of Gallipoli war memorial by Kendall Fayle.