Jump to content

Remembrance day wreaths


sueyh
 Share

Recommended Posts

Why would you do this? Does anyone else think it is insensitive and presumptuous? A very large number of French citizens, servicemen and women died as a direct result of British action - especially at the beginning of the war. If my relative had been one of these I would be a tad offended at such an offering at a village memorial.  Attend and give your respects but why be showy?

LL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dont know about it being showy, in my commune we lay wreaths at both the French war memorial and the British cemetary but we are right on the front line of WW1. I dont take a personal wreath (nor does anyone else) as it is our taxes that pay for the ones from the Mairie

Last year the schoolchildren sang God save the Queen.

This is my 5th year and 10th defilée as the only foreigner Englishman and still nobody speaks to me (I speak very good French now), one of the adjoints makes a point of shaking my hand and asking ca va? which provokes those in her group to do the same but other than that not a word from anyone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think showy was the wrong word - apologies if this causes any offence. What I intended to say was that British presence seems fine (like others I have attended in the past - especially with children) - however anything that deviates from what the French "norm" is can be construed to be interference and an attemt to "anglicise" proceedings. This was discussed in our commune, where there are certainly some veterans who are anti-British in the same way that some in the UK would be anti-German should a similar event occur.

LL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had a simple ceremony here.  Most of the village turned out, we all kissed each other (it's a small village) and observed the minute's silence in a light drizzle, the beauty of the coloured vinyards all around us.  The mayor mentioned how good it was that germans and french were laying wreaths side by side in Paris today.  We sang the first verse of  La Marseillaise and then raised a glass or two of vin primeur together.  Really made me consider what those young men gave and what they left behind.

[url]http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/housman.html[/url]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="lucky luke"]

I think showy was the wrong word - apologies if this causes any offence. What I intended to say was that British presence seems fine (like others I have attended in the past - especially with children) - however anything that deviates from what the French "norm" is can be construed to be interference and an attemt to "anglicise" proceedings. This was discussed in our commune, where there are certainly some veterans who are anti-British in the same way that some in the UK would be anti-German should a similar event occur.

LL

[/quote]

Sueyh lives in the Pas de Calais, perhaps feelings are a little different there, but I have to wonder why anyone would object to someone honoring the war dead, there's nothing to say a wreath doesn't honor the French is there ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In our little village everyone knows each other (probably because they are all related somehow or the other) and having been here sometime now I have always attended these events, just like I have many times in the UK. For me its about respect for those that gave their lives which enables me to enjoy the freedom I currently have and in a way to say 'thank you' to them. Its very much the same format as buelligans village with the exception that the local children read between them a one page piece on the war.

However, sadly I feel, in our local town the English 'parade' complete with medals and any military garment they can find. I believe this is a very French occasion and for the French, OK for us to attend but be low key.

On the other hand my friends father visited from England and was here for Victory Day and the mayor did pick him out from the small crowd and thanked him for attending, they all clapped and tried to talk to him at the buffet afterwards, trouble is he does not speak French. My friends father did fight in WW2 both in Africa and France which was mentioned. I thought that was rather nice as the mayor went to him rather than him standing out if you know what I mean.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree Q that it should be more of a French thing, after all they are the only country to grant a public holiday, for me it is a chance to show my respect and I am pleased that we do visit one of the British cemetaries, I dont go to the vin d'honneur afterwards but would if someone asked me but then they would have to speak to me first!

The sad thing for me is how few people turn out given that they have a day off and a lot to thank the fallen for, if the children were not given a bon to spend at  the epicerie afterwards they and their mothers would not be there, most of the other men who go rip the ar5e out of it at the vin d'honneur afterwards, without these incentives I reckon that there would be only a handfull of people there, even half of the adjoints are never to be seen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We went along as usual to the village commemoration, walk to the cemetery, and onwards for the vin d'honneur - those English who could get a poppy (and the British Legion now is selling where it can down here) wore them, and we had to explain (again) about poppies and Flanders fields etc etc. Even the French wife with an English huband who had lived in England, did not know the significance of the the poppy.  However, a change this year - her son was asked to read the names of the war dead - which considering he had no warning he did very well - but it still surprises me that they have yet to understand that the English (and all the anglophone nations) celebrate (remember) also, even if in our case we do it on the Sunday, another thing they cannot understand.  This year there were 5 poppies for 6 English families, not bad, and a start, but what can you do when the history of the world wars is not part of the syllabus now?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have just returned home from a day with our french friends of our village.  It started at 11 am with a walk to the local Commonwealth War Grave where our Maire placed a basket of flowers and the english placed a poppy wreath and the son of the Maire played the National Anthem of Great Britain on his car stereo using a speaker.  We then walked to the Monument des Morts in the village and once again the Maire placed a basket of flowers and we placed a poppy wreath in honour of the french who died.  The villagers asked  about our poppies and were thrilled when we gave them ours.  We then had the vin d'honneur and afterwards a repas which lasted until 7pm.  We thanked the Maire when we left for honouring the Commonwealth dead and he said that next year we will do the same on 8th May, VE day, as well as on 11th November.  What a fantastic day.  Thank you everyone for your comments.

Suey

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have been invited by our French neighbours to participate in the various remembrance ceremonies. (As an aside they also have a ceremony to remember those that were deported and taken to concentration camps).  We were delighted to participate and didn't experience any animosity but were welcome by all the villagers who were present.

I don't understand why there would be any resentment to the English participating?  We have many friends and family who were injured or lost their lives trying to free France.  One of our close friends (the father of Mr Scooby's best friend (and best man)) participated the first wave of the Normandy landings, likewise Mr Scooby's father who lost his leg (and ultimately died from complications).  Similarly, a number of my family were killed or injured.  We have never talked to our neighbours about our losses - we never felt the need to. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="lucky luke"]

Why would you do this? Does anyone else think it is insensitive and presumptuous? A very large number of French citizens, servicemen and women died as a direct result of British action - especially at the beginning of the war. If my relative had been one of these I would be a tad offended at such an offering at a village memorial.  Attend and give your respects but why be showy?

LL [/quote]

Am I the only one to find this a very odd attitude?  The French and British were allies in both world wars, fighting against a joint enemy. Do you have any links to statistics or reports detailing these losses as a direct result of British action?  It would also help to know which war you are referring to. In our bit of southern Normandy there is still real awareness of and gratitude for what the British did towards the liberation of France in 1944.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"but it still surprises me that they have yet to understand that the

English (and all the anglophone nations) celebrate (remember) also,

even if in our case we do it on the Sunday, another thing they cannot

understand.  This year there were 5 poppies for 6 English families, not

bad, and a start, but what can you do when the history of the world

wars is not part of the syllabus now?"

On 11th November the French are only commemorating those who fought in

the first world war, other wars are remembered on other dates 8 May for

the second world war and 19 March for the war in Algeria. We use

Remembrance Sunday to commemorate all those lost in conflict in all

wars. I still think it would be better to do this on the 11th November

rather than choosing the Sunday closest to the date.

We were discussing once whether Britain had a holiday on Armistice day and I still remember one very good Fr friend saying to me that the English

were not in the first world war so perhaps that was why we didn't have a holiday !!! She apologised and said that history was not her

strong point. Where would they have been without the British and Commonwealth troops?

Sue I think you did the right thing laying the wreath, it wasn't just the French who were involved and lost their men in that awful carnage. Would I mind if a French person lay a wreath for their people at one of our services in Britain ? I don't think so.

By the way I watched today's memorial service at Westmister shown on T.V. today and thought it was very well done and meaningful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

{template="widgetContainer" group="global" app="core" params="'footer', 'horizontal'"https://www.frenchentree.com/}
×
×
  • Create New...