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* Commemoration of the Armistice of November 1918 and centenary of the burial of the Unknown Soldier
Brussels on 11/11/1922
*

Commemoration of the Armistice of November 1918 and centenary of the burial of the Unknown Soldier
Brussels on 11/11/1922

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The story of the Unknown Soldier

On November 11, 1920, France and United Kingdom, each of which erected a monument to remember the heroes who died for their country, instituted the rite of the Unknown Soldier. Like these two nations, Belgium decides to do the same on the spot of the Congress column which symbolizes the Independence of Belgium.

After making this decision, it is necessary to "choose" the anonymous soldier who will take his place at the foot of the Congress column. This choice takes place at the station of Bruges, on November 10, 1922, in the first-class waiting room transformed into a chapel of rest. In the five coffins, five bodies having fought in Liège, Namur, Antwerp, on the Yser front and during the Battle of Liberation in 1918. These five battles disputed by the Belgian army, five graves of Belgian soldiers not identified randomly selected were opened.

It is the war blind Raymond Haesebroeck who has the honor of designating the coffin of the unknown soldier. After the war-disabled designated one of the five beers during a moving ceremony, the people of Bruges were allowed to parade in front of the catafalques during the evening of 10 November.


Armistice, Brussels 2022

The five coffins in the chapel of rest while waiting for the body containing the one who will be designated by the blind man of war to become the Unknown Soldier


Armistice, Brussels 2022

The coffin was accompanied in cortege from the Gare du Nord by King Albert I and his son, Prince Leopold.


Armistice, Brussels 2022

The funeral procession descends at the foot of the Congress column where the honors of the Fatherland will be rendered


Armistice, Brussels 2022

Queen Elisabeth and Princess Marie-José attend the ceremony


Armistice, Brussels 2022

The King Albert I attaches down the decorations awarded to the Unknown Soldier


Armistice, Brussels 2022

Finally, once the coffin has been buried and the tomb covered with its slab, the Sovereign and the Crown Prince salute.

One hundred years later

On November 11, Eric Verly and Wilfred Burie represented the association "The Belgians Remember Them" at the national commemoration at the Congress Column in Brussels.

The King, after reviewing the troops present, takes his place in the tribune reserved for the authorities. Admiral Jacques Rosiers, President of Servio then delivers his speech in which he recalls the importance of commemorating the Armistice and the soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the various conflicts that marked the 20th century for that the Fatherland regains its independence and that democracy prevails in the world.

Then, a release of two doves was ensured by two young teenagers. At this moment, in complete silence, the bell rang "Stop fighting" played by two bugles to which those of the Royal Music of the Guides posted on the esplanade at the back of the stage echoed.



Armistice, Brussels

Armistice, Brussels

The King then laid a wreath of flowers and observed a minute of silence. The “Last Post” bell was followed by the rekindling of the Flame of Remembrance. Five soil collection ceremonies took place in the week preceding November 11, 2022 in five Belgian military cemeteries: Lierre, Adegem, Liège, Namur and Keiem from where the five anonymous soldiers had been exhumed in 1922. In each cemetery, a urn was filled by young children with soil removed from the foot of the grave of an unidentified soldier. They were taken to Bruges where a ceremony commemorating that of 1922 was held. A single urn is then filled with the earth from the five necropolises. The vase transported to Brussels is laid on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier where already, the decorations which had been allotted to him in 1922 were posed again.


Armistice, Brussels


Armistice, Brussels


Armistice, Brussels

The King, after laying his wreath, rekindles the Eternal Flame


Armistice, Brussels


Armistice, Brussels


Armistice, Brussels


Armistice, Brussels

After his speech, Admiral J. Rosiers releases doves of Peace with two young people.


Armistice, Brussels

The two bugles sounding "Cease the fighting""


Armistice, Brussels

The earthen urn from Bruges is placed on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It will then be exhibited at the Army Museum


Armistice, Brussels

Photo: Gert-Jan Dhaemer

At the end of the ceremony, Wilfred Burie, President of the association "The Belgians Remember Them" had the great honor of being presented by Admiral er Jacques Rosiers to His Majesty the King.

The Sovereign congratulated him on the memory work accomplished by the association and encouraged him to continue on this way.


Armistice, Brussels
Armistice, Brussels


Armistice, Brussels

Photos: Gert-Jan Dhaemer

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