The world has had a tumultuous history. Along with all the beautiful landscapes, the amazing architectural feats, and incredible people and stories that have been… the world has had its fair share of heartache and heartbreak and gut wrenching stories of war and/or natural disasters. Memorials are sometimes set up to mark the lives lost. We always find these memorials very haunting and moving.
But memorials are not only for sad events, they also mark important people and events. In this post, we’ve rounded up the memorials that we have visited that made an impact on us. Not that any of the others were less notable or less important, we particularly wanted to share these 6.
And in no particular order,
1. The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania, we’ve previously shared a photo essay of it and still get goosebumps thinking about this place. The information around its history is a little hazy but in essence it is a memorial to lives lost. The number of crosses erected in this place is unknown but is estimated to be around 100,000. We’ve never seen anywhere else quite like it.
2. The Memorial Cenotaph framing the peace flame and the A-Bomb Dome as part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan. The park itself is dedicated to Hiroshima, the first city ever to suffer a nuclear attack, in memory of the victims.
The A-Bomb dome that you can see in the distance, is what remains of the former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. This building was at the centre of the where the bomb exploded.
3. In 2011, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch in New Zealand, killing 185 people. This is a temporary art installation commemorating the lives lost on that February day. There was 185 different chairs painted white, each marking one of the lives lost.
4. Seeing the one in Christchurch, reminded us immediately of the one we saw in Krakow, Poland. Thirty-three chairs on deportation site, each one representing the 1,000 Jewish victims of the Krakow Ghetto during World War II.
5. The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, USA is something we had only ever seen in TV shows and movies. This statue is probably one of the most notable things that we wanted to see during our visit to DC and it certainly did not disappoint. Honouring the 16th President of the USA, it stands at about 5.8 meters. The walls inside the monument are inscribed with Lincoln’s inaugural speech and Gettysburg speech.
6. And possibly the most significant one for us as Australians was the Memorial by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli in Turkey.
“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours…
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”
– Ataturk, 1934
What memorial have you visited that made an impact on you?
As Australians, visiting Gallipoli carried a lot of significance for us. Before going to Turkey, if there was ONLY one place in Turkey that we were able to go to, we would’ve chosen Gallipoli without a second thought. Having studied the Battle of Gallipoli in school and learning of all those soldiers losing their lives, we needed to see where it all happened, the place that marked such a dark day in Australian history (April 25 1915).
The size of ANZAC Cove is small to say the least, to expect a campaign of 4000 men to land. Admittedly, it was soon learnt that the troops were meant to arrive at Brighton Beach which is much bigger and a little further a south. It was no wonder that so many died on that fateful day.
Standing on the cove with the gorgeous sunshine on our faces, we tried to picture what it would be like to be here of a night, approaching the shore to face an “enemy” in the dead of the night. And we couldn’t imagine it, it’s impossible for us to fathom what would have been going through the minds of the troops. In one direction, the sea appears to goes on forever and in the other direction, the mountains stretch the length of the coast with Turkish soldiers up top or on the other side.
Now, the scenery is so very peaceful and serene and all we can hear is the tide as it hits the shore.
The memorial at ANZAC Cove by Ataturk was so touching – it was the first that we had ever heard or seen these words. We would hope that it had provided a little comfort to all the families that lost loved ones during this war from both sides. The words are really worth sharing (click on the picture & it will enlarge to be legible).
The remainder of our time in Gallipoli we saw Beach Cemetery, Lone Pine and the Turkish Memorial. It is at Lone Pine where the name of one of the youngest known solders to have died is inscribed. He was 14 years and 9 months. To think back to when we were that old, would we have lied about our age so that we could enlist into the army and fight for our country?
We can imagine how being in Gallipoli on ANZAC day would be emotional and surreal because being there on any given Monday like we were, it still felt pretty special!
If there is anything anyone should take away is that war destroys lives and causes loss of life. However we cannot change the way things are but what we can do is pay our respect and remember those who have lost their lives in battle. And to also support those servicemen and women who serve our countries: in the past, present and future. LEST WE FORGET.