Wednesday 13 December 2017

Lise Hand: Two nations unite in honour of war dead

British Prime Minister David Cameron and Taoiseach Enda Kenny visit the grave of Irish MP Willie Redmond who died in the First World War, in Heuvelland, Belgium
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Taoiseach Enda Kenny visit the grave of Irish MP Willie Redmond who died in the First World War, in Heuvelland, Belgium
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny with British Prime Minister David Cameron during the wreath laying ceremonies. Picture: Peter Cavanagh
Lise Hand

Lise Hand

THERE was complete silence as the two leaders stood side by side, heads bowed, contemplating the memorial before them. A grey stone cross, about six feet high, was planted in the soil.

Above it, a glass case containing a white statue of the Virgin Mary was suspended. At the base of the cross fluttered a small, grainy black-and-white photograph of the soldier buried below -- Major Willie Redmond, who died from his wounds on June 7, 1917, at the age of 56.

The face which stared palely back from almost 100 years ago echoed so many ghostly images from the Great War; a serious face with a neat moustache and an impeccable uniform.

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