Hope you had a great week.
Here everything is about commemorating the centenary of the end of the Great War this weekend. Everywhere I go in the north of France there are posters detailing remembrance events. Trees are adorned with poppy and cornflower coverings (you can see a photo here on my Instagram page). For the UK and many other countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, the poppy is the symbol of remembrance and hope. The sight of poppies growing in battle-scarred fields in spring 1915 inspired John McCrae a Canadian soldier, doctor and poet to write the famous poem “In Flanders Fields (the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row)”.
For the French it’s the cornflower that is the symbol of remembrance, a nod to the colour of the blue uniforms of the soldiers.
We will, as every year since we discovered this peaceful, utterly beautiful little corner of France, be joining villagers at a memorial service at the village cenotaph by the church on Sunday morning. By now we know the routine well. The Mayor will solemnly and meaningfully read the names of men from the village who lost their lives fighting for France.
He will also read the name of the lone British soldier who was laid to rest in the village cemetery in 1918. We will place a poppy on his grave as we do every year. As far as I know he was an only son, just 19 years old when he perished, from London, not too far from where I was born, and there is no family to remember him. But we do. And so do the villagers. His grave is treated with the same care and tenderness given to the graves of family and friends. Flowers are regularly placed by his name. He is not forgotten.
Wishing you a very bon weekend and wherever you are, may peace reign.
Bisous from France,
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