Wednesday, May 8, 2013

8 mai 1945

May 8...a national holiday in France. It commemorates the end of WWII in Europe...Victory in Europe Day...V-E Day. An important day to remember here. In villages all over France the same scenario is played out...

In my village 30 or so people gathered at 11:45 am. Madame Gentou, our mayor, read a speech. In it she spoke of devastation, capitulation, occupation, collaboration and resistance. She spoke of the hardships and the deaths. She reminded people of General De Gaulle and the brave men of the Resistance, of sabotage and finally of liberation.
Two young village girls laid a bouquet of flowers at the foot of the war memorial.
Then Madame Gentou read each name on the memorial, men from our village who died during WWI, WWII, and the Algerian War. After each name, the crowd intoned...'mort pour la France.' At the end of the ceremony as people made their way up to the mairie for a drink, a young man, whom know one seemed to know, knelt in prayer in front of the memorial. It was quite moving. I was reluctant to intrude with either a photo or conversation, but I can't help but one of the names his grandfather, an uncle, a cousin? War is very personal here; it's not just something you read about in history books.

8 mai 1945 - Reims par Yoda63

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