The tricolour over Daglan

Today is the 8th of May, and it’s a national holiday in France. Huit Mai, as it’s known, marks Victory in Europe day, which took place 68 years ago.

Each year, when we’ve been in the village, my wife Jan and I have joined the small group in Daglan’s Place de la Liberté to remember those who died liberating France and the rest of Nazi-occupied Europe. I wrote about this on May 8 of last year, in “Our damp V-E Day ceremony.”

As you’ll see, this isn’t a major happening — I counted just 30 people standing around the war memorial, in front of the restaurant Le Petit Paris, listening to the speeches and eventually singing the national anthem.  But it’s a solemn event and it certainly marks a period of history that shouldn’t be forgotten.

What follows is a brief photographic record of today’s ceremony.

Just before 11:45 in the morning, a few civic officials and war veterans marched the short distance from the Mairie, the Mayor’s office, and prepared for the ceremony at the war memorial. This included placing a bouquet at the foot of the flag pole, and then raising the French flag, the tricolour. Here’s how it looked:

The bouquet of flowers is ready to be set before the flag pole.

The bouquet of flowers is ready to be set before the flag pole.

The flag is then clipped to the line that will raise it up the pole:

The French flag is in position, ready to be raised.

The French flag is in position, ready to be raised.

Hoisting the flag now begins:

The French flag is rising up the pole.

The French flag is rising up the pole.

And here it is, waving gently in a light breeze, against this morning’s cloudy sky:

The French flag against a cloudy May sky in Daglan.

The French flag against a cloudy May sky in Daglan.

Here, one of the civic officials reads a prepared statement about the war and the eventual defeat of the Nazis:

One of three speakers addresses the small crowd.

One of three speakers addresses the small crowd.

Then comes a minute of silence, followed by the singing of La Marseillaise, the national anthem.

The idea is that the group will sing along to an instrumental version of the anthem, played on a portable CD player. Of course, this wouldn’t be a Huit Mai ceremony in Daglan unless there was a problem with the player, which no one ever seems able to operate properly. And sure enough, despite an awful lot of poking of buttons, the player refused to play. But to their credit, the villagers still sang a pretty hearty version of La Marseillaise.

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This entry was posted in French government and politics, Life in southwest France, Restaurants in the Dordogne, Weather in the Dordogne and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The tricolour over Daglan

  1. Doug Curson says:

    Sad to see so few attending!

  2. Lesley says:

    Our village also has the British Union Flag up alongside the French Tricolour and we have a quick chorus of God Save The Queen played before the Marseillaise. It ends in convivial drinks, Vin d’honneur, in our Salle de Fete. We note that the numbers were down this year and the dress code also is getting somwhat laid back.

    • Loren says:

      Lesley, good for your village, to recognize that the liberation of France wasn’t wholly the work of one General de Gaulle. Daglan hasn’t made that leap.

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