November 11, 2014 was a special day at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. A hundred years after the start of the First World War in 1914, more than 550,000 men who lost their lives on the battlefields of northern France are being reconciled in a giant ring-shaped Memorial that floats over the site of one of the bloodiest conflicts of WWI.
The “Ring of Memory” pays tribute to soldiers of all nationalities who perished in this land between 1914 and 1918. It is on the edge of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette French War cemetery, itself containing the bodies of over 40,000 soldiers.
French President, François Hollande, inaugurated the “Ring of Memory” on November 11, 2014, thus recognizing the importance and significance of this Memorial. Photo credit : (AFP/Lionel Bonaventure)
Inside the 328 m elliptical ring are engraved the names of the 580,000 men who died in northern France during the First World War. The names are etched onto the 3 m high walls of the Memorial, arranged not by nationality or regiment but in alphabetical order to give a sense of the scale of the human suffering.
Architect Philippe Prost said that the form of a ring was chosen to give a sense of unity to the names of fallen former enemies. “I was thinking about the rings you make when you’re a child, or a human ring when everyone holds each other’s hands in a sign of fellowship, and that seemed to me like the image, the form, best suited to speaking about these 600,000 soldiers killed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, and who today are brought together all in one place ,” he said.
Photo credit : (AFP)
The exterior of the “Ring of Memory” is concrete, while panels on the inside are engraved with the names of the fallen. The construction of the Memorial cost 8 million euros. Photo credit : (AFP)
Here is a video of the inauguration of the “Ring of Memory” :
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