In the late Seventies, early Eighties some friends and I visited the Wijtschate area several times. We went to Ypres and surroundings in March-April-Mai when there are no crops on the fields. Without digging we found cartridges, shells, shrapnel, hand grenades etc. etc. and also webbing and bones from humans and horses. It wasn’t an international touristic destination by then, so farmers were okay when we asked them for permission to walk on their land. A box of cigars or a bottle of Dutch Gin (Jenever) did miracles. At same spots there were large pools, remnants of huge underground explosions. There you had the greatest opportunity of finding items. At the ‘Pool of Peace’ for example I found a British .303 ammo clip directly on top of a German ‘Wilhelm’ stick grenade.
We didn’t take almost anything with us. Instead we made pics of the artifacts, but unfortunately the pics haven’t survived time.
If you ever are near Yper/Ieper then please pay a visit to the Menen Port. The names of 54.896 MIA Commonwealth soldiers are engraved. Just be silent for a moment and think of it: 54.896 missing soldiers!
And there are also many tens of thousands missing French, Belgium, US and German soldiers.
The madness of war is so clearly to be seen in Ieper (and Verdun, the Somme etc.) but we haven’t learned anything from it.
I don’t think they teach American military history anymore. If they would have spotlighted even the Vietnam war, we wouldn’t be in the middle east today. Lessons learned!
Those who got us into GW1/GWOT are those who grew up and served during Vietnam.
ETA: I agree, if history was well taught, today’s GenX and newer would be voting anti-war at every turn.