Soldier's Memory Kept Alive for 96 Years

Nearly 100 years ago, a young man named Hubert Rochereau died in a field in Belgium, one of some 17 million people who died in the first World War. The scale of death from combat, disease and famine was unprecedented in modern history. However, for the families of the fallen, the war's tragedy was measured in single lives lost, with each death devastating families and communities.

Rochereau's death was no different, as reported by The Guardian in their online coverage of the war's centenary this year. He died on April 26, 1918 at 21, the result of wounds sustained while fighting for a village, Loker, which French forces retook four days after his death. When the news of his death reached his parents, they did what many parents do, and kept his room exactly as he had left it, as a memorial to his presence in their family and the absence his death left.

His room remained untouched, filled with his personal items, clothes and mementos, until the Rochereau family sold the house in 1935. As part of the sale, however, they added a clause to the contract requiring that Hubert's room remain his, untouched, for 500 years. While the provision is not legally binding, it has so far been honored by subsequent owners, and Hubert's bedroom today is exactly the same as the day he walked out to join the war over 96 years ago.

The respect and reverence shown to Hubert Rochereau is remarkable, and time will tell if his parents' wish to honor his memory for half a millennium will be successful. Today, his bedroom stands as a reminder of the cost of war, and the incredible power of a parent's love. Share his story with your own loved ones, and think about how far you would go to honor their memory.