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30,000th Last Post Ceremony

Last week a Last Post Ceremony took place under Ypres’s Menin Gate in Belgium to mark the 30,000th Last Post being played.

In honour of the 30,000th Last Post being played, Gonewest, the cultural commemoration program of the province of West-Flanders organized the ‘Tribute to the Tribute.’  The organization worked with Flemish actor and singer Wim Opbrouck and the Last Post Association Gonewest.

“It was very emotional, I think every Canadian should go and see it, to appreciate that people in Europe really understand Canadians and the British and other countries came to their aid,” said Suzanne Beecham, whose grandfather was a Belgian freedom fighter. “You’ll see all the town people just before 8 p.m. come out in the central part of Ypres and then walk to the Menin Gate.”

It is a tradition that the Buglers of the Association wear the uniform of the local volunteer Fire Brigade, of which they are all required to become members.

When the 30,000th Last Post was sounded by the buglers under the Menin Gate, it was hoped that a moment of silence and contemplation would be held in as many fire stations as possible around the world.

In their local fire stations, people from all over the world followed the ceremony. A short text, specially written for the event by Opbrouck, was read aloud in each of the participating fire stations by a locally selected person. It was a simple gesture, a tribute to the buglers who have honoured the fallen soldiers of the First World War 30,000 times.

The Last Post was a bugle call played in the British Army, and in the armies of many other lands to mark the end of the day’s labours and the onset of the night’s rest.

The Last Post Association is an independent, voluntary, non-profit organization that founded the Last Post Ceremony in 1928. It is the Association that is still responsible for the day-to-day organization of the unique act of homage.

The Last Post Fund is administered by the Association as well. The fund provides the financial resources necessary to support the ceremony.

The playing of the Last Post has come to represent a final farewell to the fallen at the end of their earthly labours and the onset of their eternal rest.

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