Hello everyone, my name is Cole. Since our last post, the EU Study Abroad Program has been hard at work at Georgia Tech Lorraine. We’ve spent the past few weeks attending classes and finishing up our exams. All of us are very eager to start the next chapter of our program in Brussels. While we have immensely enjoyed our time in Metz, we are also enthusiastic about our future travels.
This week, our program had the amazing opportunity to visit several World War I memorials around the city of Verdun. Recalling our history classes, the Battle of Verdun was one of the most important and crucial conflicts of the Great War. For almost a year, French and German troops fought in a stalemate, with an enormous amount of casualties on both sides.
Armies were confined to their trenches. Many men would be sacrificed in order to gain only a few feet of land. Despite the carnage, brutal fighting continued on both sides, fueled by nationalist sentiments. The French in particular wanted to regain the Alsace-Lorraine region that had been lost to the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War. In fact, this is the region that our program has been located for the past 4 weeks.
The first monument we visited today was the Montserrat Monument. This structure was built to commemorate the achievements and sacrifices of American soldiers during the First World War. In the center of the monument is a map of the surrounding area, which displays the combined efforts of the American and French troops.
While we were visiting, a tour guide showed us the positions of the opposing armies, and explained how the Americans and the French were able to outmaneuver the Germans. This monument is one of many around France that shows gratitude to the American involvement in both would wars, and they demonstrate the long lasting friendship and alliance between the two countries.
After this location, we traveled to the Mémorial De La Bataille De Verdun. This is a cemetery and place of remembrance for thousands of soldiers who lost their lives during the Battle of Verdun. While this was a very sad and somber location to visit, it is crucial for us to remember the history that created the world today.
We were able to watch a short film that explained the harsh and brutal conditions during the battle of Verdun. Afterwards, we climbed to the top of the central tower, and looked out upon the expansive cemetery.