Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Armistice day in France
Just back from the Armistice day service in our tiny village.
As usual the girls joined other local children in belting out La Marseillaise....including the lovely lines:
Do you hear in the countryside
Those ferocious soldiers roaring?
They come up to your arms
To slit the throats of your sons and wives!
We then all trooped off to the mairie to share "un verre d'amitie" (literally a glass of friendship, in our case a couple of hefty pineau's). It's a bank holiday here and most of the locals seemed set in for the day.
It's always a poignant occasion and, being English, we tend to get a warm welcome, especially from the few people who don't know us now.
It all took me back to my first ever memories of Armistice day. I was a young lad in a cash & carry with my father when, over the tannoy, they announced a 2 minute silence at 11.00am.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and it was the first time I had seen him cry - it was also the first time that I realised he had actually fought in the war.
I wish he could have been there today to see the grand-daughters he never met pay their respects....I guess it would have brought a few tears to his eyes again.