The Bones of War: Skeletons of soldiers killed in the Battle of Verdun lie visible an impressive ossuary that sits atop the battlefield.
Some thirty years ago, or so, I had a summer on my hands. My wife and I were living in Europe--had recently moved there from Iceland, in fact--and I was thirsty for some sort of small adventure. A bicycle trip across Europe from Germany to Paris seemed just the thing and so I bought a nice new Peugeot machine and set off by myself to experience the Continent first hand. What I hadn't counted on were my encounters with the ghosts of war. You can read more about this in my essay about my trip in The Prague Revue: http://praguerevue.com/ViewArticle?articleId=6169
When it comes to war, one can take the high road of cynicism (humanity deserves the horrors brought on by its animal instincts) or the lower, more realistic road (in this case the road I traveled on my bicycle that summer) which lead me though the settings of bloody old battles that are now green pastures, farms and forests and peaceful farming villages. This lower road suggests that we humans are infinitely complex animals that seem to be making very, very slow progress towards some sort of improved version of ourselves.
Death in the trenches: The Battlefield at Verdun