Tuesday, May 8, 2012

8th May 1945

I wonder if the date above means anything to my readers?
Last week, we were chatting over the garden wall with our delightful neighbour Pierre-Jean who is the mayor of our community, and he invited us to join the other members of the community at the war memorial in Cortambert. It was 67 years ago that France was liberated from German occupation and it is commemorated by the whole country with a holiday from work and ceremonies across the country, most notably at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where this morning the wreath was laid jointly by President Sarkozy and President elect Hollande.

The flags fly proudly outside the Mairie

We gathered together outside the Mairie - there was a lot of hand shaking and kissing in greeting- something we have come to expect now that we have been here a while. You always shake hands with people you have not met before, but those whom you have got to know - for example the people who go to badminton, our English friends and the mayor and his wife - you kiss on each cheek.

The local volunteer fire personnel were in attendance including a bugler. Also the man who is employed by the parish in a multitude of different ways was there in the uniform of the police rurale. They formed up in a rough line to walk the few metres to the memorial.

     Soon we were following the line and we stood opposite the memorial whilst Pierre-     Jean laid an arrangement of flowers.

Then he read a statement sent by the French Minister of Defence which had been written for today.
Then we were asked to observe a minute's silence.

Finally the bugle was blown to signify the end of the ceremony

We followed everyone back to the Mairie where Martine, Pierre-Jean's wife, had prepared pizza and brioche which was passed around and wine and orange juice. Again we were able to catch up with friends and we have promised Pascal that we will start playing badminton again - that's tonight sorted then!

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