The Unknown Soldier
On 11 November 1922, exactly four years after the Armistice, King Albert inaugurated the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A vision-impaired former soldier chose the body between five unidentifiable remains. This Unknown Soldier was buried at the foot of the Congress column, which was the symbol of an independent and monarchic Belgium. The new monument became a place of memory for Belgian patriotism.
The organisation of a funeral for the Unknown Soldier was an echo of what had already been done in Paris and London in 1920. Yet in the case of Belgium it also expresses the specific nature of Belgian war memory, since the project was started by former soldiers, who, supported by civilians, forced the state to react. Since then, soldiers, deported people or political prisoners created their own organisations to preserve the memory of “their” war.