A ‘perfect’ day for our November 11 ceremony

We were  gathering at Daglan’s war memorial this morning, as 11 a.m. approached, and I said to one of our neighbours: “A perfect day for this, I think.” Just then, the sun peeked through the clouds a bit and my neighbour replied with a smile. “Ah yes, perfect,” she said. “I hope the sun stays here.”

Her comment was just fine, but in fact I hadn’t been referring to the sun coming out. I meant that the otherwise grey day seemed just right for what I regard as a meaningful, necessary, but still very sad day. Seems to me that November 11 is a day that should always be grey.

The gathering this year was relatively small; our Mayor was away on vacation, and other officials filled in. The ceremony began with flowers being placed in front of the memorial, and the French flag being raised. Here’s a look:

The flag is raised.

As always, reading out the names of those villagers who were lost in World Wars I and II was another step in the ceremony. As each name was read out, we said quietly: “Mort pour la France,” which is to say “Died for France.” Here is a look at the reading of the names:

Reading out the names of the village’s fallen.

After the speech was given — providing some history of the war, and how peace was achieved — a bugler played La Marseillaise, and the small crowd sang along. Here is the bugler in front of the memorial:

Playing the anthem.

The ceremony is short — perhaps just 15 minutes or so. As I wrote at the start of this posting, I do appreciate the ceremony on November 11 each year (as well as the May 8 ceremony, marking the end of the Second World War). My wife Jan and I attend both ceremonies in the village, whenever we can.

What I regard as particularly sad is not just the memories of those who lost their lives in previous conflicts, but the fact that vicious  conflicts keep happening. All around our world.




This entry was posted in History in France, Life in southwest France and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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