Thursday, November 11, 2004

Armistice Day

Today is Jour de l'Armistice de 1918, or Armistice Day. Originally, it was a day to commemorate the end of World War I, which ended on Novemeber 11, 1918. Now it is a day of rememberance for people that have died in the many wars since, so it closely resembles its American cousin, Veterans' Day, which is also today.

We went to the in-laws' for lunch today. On the way, we passed one of the war memorials, which has been decorated with floral wreaths. There were some older gentlemen in uniform milling about; I don't think there was a parade, and I don't know if they were meeting up for a luncheon or a photo opportunity.

We had a tasty lunch with my sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and father-in-law, who is a veteran himself, having served in the Algerian War. The news highlighted a survivor of the first world war, still very cognizant and mobile at 106 years old. There are 15 French veterans of World War I still living. Stéph pointed out that there were 36 last year, and maybe they were victims of the heat wave.

Today is a public holiday in France, so just about everything is closed. Considering just about everyone here is related to someone who has served in the military - especially since mandatory service only stopped about eight years ago - I think it's lovely that people can take a day to remember those that have died serving their country.

So, not a lot of ha-ha in today's post. Just one family note - my grandmother's seven brothers served in World War II, and they all came home. My great-uncle George is the only one still with us. He never had children, and recently sent a lot of his memorabilia from the war to my mom. He served in the Navy, and would draw pictures of the action he saw. I had the pleasure to see a couple of those pictures not too long ago and they were truly remarkable. I'll be thinking about Uncle George today. And no matter what country you live in, if you pass by a veteran, go kiss him on the cheek or shake his hand, because he has seen horrors that we can only dream of.

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