Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lest we forget

Today is Armistice Day. On the 11th day of the 11th month most European countries remember the dead of the first war. Here in France they remember the dead of all wars. The picture above shows the war memorial before the ceremony with the French tricolor in abundance.
The Mairie is also ready for the small march to the war memorial. Local dignitaries will assemble here for the march.
As we have no fighting military units in this area, any town uniformed people take part. This is the boss of the pompiers (firemen) in his splendid uniform. When I took this picture, I thought at first that he was a police man.
Here is one of our local Gendarmes (police). In France the Gendarmes are military personnel and answer to the French equivalent of the ministry of defence.
I noticed this chap with his medals proudly displayed and thought him worthy of a picture.
These two gentlemen were the standard bearers and were lead the march to the war memorial.
The march gets underway for the short journey to the memorial.
Just around the corner they pass the band playing appropriate music.
And of course the French national anthem. They also played the last post for the minutes silence.

The fire and police people stood at the front with many towns people behind. It struck me that there were not only war veterans here but also many younger people from the town. French people tend to respect others and the history of their area.
This is the additional marble plaque to commemorate the sacrifices of the second world war. This is similar to many in France in that it is divided into sections. The top part has the names of those who died for France, the second part, were killed while serving in the maquis (resistance), the next part were those that were executed by the Germans, and the last part shows the names of those who were deported and died in Germany, including the four policemen.
I was very touched by the turnout of people of all ages for this ceremony, but realised that this was happening all over the country.

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