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My European Travel Diary (011) Waterloo: My Edification at Lion Hill

t 4 pm, 29th Sept. 2000, I crossed the border into Belgium. Before going to the capital, Brussels, I visited the famous ancient battlefield of Waterloo. 

As soon as Waterloo was mentioned, the first thing that jumped into my mind was a name, and that name was Napoleon, the great and failed hero. 

The old battlefield is so calm and quiet, no more whinnying war-horses, closely fighting soldiers, war drums or the smoke of gunpowder. There is only vast open countryside and a boundless forest. Areas of bright green and deep green cover the vast plain; the trees of the forest are very tall and straight. The lofty pines and cypresses make the forest seem so solemn and respectful; the silver birches and poplars add a little brightness to the forest. I got the feeling that I was walking into a huge memorial hall, except that there were no walls, no boundaries that I might be quiet and stately. 

There was a bronze statue of Napoleon among the green trees. He was in a camail, with both arms crossed and stood on a high stele, looking over the vast, vacant battlefield. Opposite him was the lofty, bright green “Lion Hill”. A huge lion stood on top of the hill; it had its head raised, looking into the distance. Under Lion Hill are the bodies of over fifty thousand soldiers. Maybe the lion was looking towards the distant France? Maybe it was speaking to the far away motherland and the families of the soldiers? Maybe it was looking for new orders to carry on the struggle of blood and fire? I just felt that there was a strong feeling crashing into my heart when I saw that, as when I wrote this. Even now, as I am typing and arranging this article, I can not help but weep, my tears dropping onto the keyboard and mixing with these words as I type them. 

When I thought of the fifty thousand young lives that are forever lying in this cold and far away land, I couldn’t help but think about their parents and families. After all, what man has no parents? no brothers, sisters, wife or children? Who doesn’t want a happy life? Then why are there so many wars and struggles in the world? Wars have taken away so many young lives, their bodies lying in some cold distant land forever. Wars have made so many parents lose their sons, so many wives lose their husbands, so many children lose their fathers and so many girls lose their lovers. 

Even though all wars are different, it is everyone’s responsibility as citizens to defend their country. Every family has the responsibility to send their able bodied members into battle when their country is invaded. 

However, how can we avoid wars happening? How can we stop ongoing wars from continuing? How can we stop potential wars? I really think that it is the responsibility of everyone who loves peace. How lucky we are to live in peaceful times! We really have a responsibility to promote peace and calm all over the world. Thus was my edification at Waterloo and Lion Hill! 

Written in Oct.,2000

Edition on 22nd.,Oct.,2004


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