Polishing up our V-E Day ceremony

Yesterday was May 8th, or huit mai in French, and it’s a national holiday — marking Victory-in-Europe Day on May 8, 1945. Once again, our village of Daglan marked the day with a ceremony at the war memorial, right in front of the restaurant Le Petit Paris.

This was the first real chance for Daglan’s newly elected municipal officials to show their stuff, and according to my wife Jan, they acquitted themselves well. (I couldn’t attend, you may have guessed, because I remain in La Roseraie, the clinic in Montfaucon where I am recovering from back surgery.) In any case, Jan reports that everything went without a hitch, and the ceremony seems to have been polished up. Here’s a look at the event, through her photos.

Before things began, a lovely flower arrangement had been placed at the foot of the war memorial, along with the requisite French flags and (for the first time  that we can remember) a flag of Europe.

Flowers in front of the war memorial.

Flowers in front of the war memorial.

Over in the village’s main square, a table had been set up to hold the refreshments (snacks and drinks) that would be served after the ceremony. To our knowledge, this was also a first, as the drinkies previously were served either in a bar at the end of the village, or in the community hall. Since it was a reasonably nice day, why not?

A table is set up to hold the drinks, for later on.

A table is set up to hold the drinks, for later on.

Once everyone had gathered for the ceremony, it began with a trumpeter playing the Last Post, followed by the speeches. Here in the front row are the three adjoints, or deputy mayors, who wear the official sashes:

Officials line up for the ceremony.

Officials line up for the ceremony.

And then our new Mayor reads the official speech, remembering the events that led to the eventual victory over Nazi Germany:

Daglan's new Mayor reads the May 8th text.

Daglan’s new Mayor reads the May 8th text.

Next comes the singing of the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, and then the migration to the main square for the refreshments:

Snacks and drinks served in the village's main square.

Snacks and drinks served in the village’s main square.

It’s a simple but meaningful ceremony, and this year it was definitely polished up, for the simple reason that nothing went wrong. In previous years, there was always some sort of problem, from the flagpole pulley breaking so that the flag fell to the ground, to the fact that the CD player (meant for the national anthem) didn’t work. This year, the trumpeter played the anthem, and Jan reports that he did very well.

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

2 Responses to Polishing up our V-E Day ceremony

  1. marshp2013 says:

    Very interesting, Loren, and thanks to Jan for the live reporting. We have our Armistice Day here, but I don’t think Canadians can really appreciate how deeply this occasion must be felt by the French, who saw their country invaded and their culture threatened. Happily, the world survived, and hopefully we`ll never see another time like that.

  2. loren24250 says:

    Thanks, Paul. Yes, one can only hope. Although there are sure some troubled places around the world, with events being driven by very troubled people. But you’re right to focus on the positive.
    All the best.

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