By Julie Piron, USAG Benelux Public AffairsNovember 21, 2018
CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- Chièvres traveled back in time Nov. 18 as British flags, poppies, and bagpipers in kilts set the tone for the weekend.
Hundred years have passed, but the music played by the Gordon Highlanders bagpipers that weekend brought back the whole population of Chièvres to the day of the city's liberation. After more than four years of oppression and restrictions in World War I, Chièvres welcomed the 5th Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders as they liberated the town. Numerous friendships flourished that day between the Scots and the Belgians.
On Nov. 17, 1918, six days after the signature of the Armistice, Lt. Col. Gordon Dudley, commander of the Gordon Highlanders, presented the regiment flag to the city and received the key to the town, binding the history of the Highlanders to Chièvres forever.
During World War II, the original flag was destroyed by the Germans. A new flag was offered in 1966 during the twinning ceremony between Chièvres and Elon, hometown of Dudley. Until Sunday's event, that flag proudly hung in Chièvres' town hall.
On Sunday, the exact same ceremony was recreated by 70 members of the Highlanders Regimental Association who flew from Scotland to commemorate the World War I centennial. They offered a new bright yellow flag decorated with a deer head to the city of Chièvres. The new flag will now be cherished as a great treasure of the local history.
After the unveiling of commemorative plaques, the Gordon Highlanders marched in a parade and played their bagpipes to the crowd's delight.
After the weekend, the words of Robert Laurence Binyon's poem "For the Fallen," written in 1914, will long resonate in the minds of those who attended this ceremony:
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."