We will never forget

Memorial Day Omaha beach France

I will never forget watching this American speak to the lost soldiers on the beaches of Normandy. Today we honor those who lost their lives, au champs d'honneur.

Memorial Day

    : jour des soldats morts au champ d'honneur
     (day of commemoration of soldiers who were killed in action)

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc read the French definitions, recording today's sound file from his field of vines where he's paused to remember soldiers: Download MP3 or Wav file

Le Memorial Day est un jour de congé officiel aux États-Unis, célébré chaque année lors du dernier lundi du mois de mai. Historiquement, il était nommé Decoration Day, en l'honneur des femmes et hommes qui perdirent leur vie durant la guerre de Sécession. (Wikipedia)

Memorial Day is an official holiday in the United States, observed each year on the last Monday of May. Historically, it was called Decoration Day, in honor of women and men who lost their lives during the American Civil war.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

On La Fête des Mères, yesterday, we were gathered round the picnic table, eating barbequed moules, salmon, and aubergines, when the irony of it all hit me. Mothers Day in France is the day before Memorial Day in the States.

I looked over at my 19-year-old son, amazed. Thank God we've never known the draft

Mothers Day was never more meaningful--celebrated the day before remembrance day. So much to be grateful for: my son, freedom, and most of all those who fought for it. 

On this day we often hear the free citoyens promise: "We will never forget." Let's remember, now, by honoring those who lost their lives, les soldats morts au 'champ d'honneur.' 

Click here to leave a message.


Omaha beach barbed wire
Do you ever take your freedom for granted? (Photo taken from inside a bunker on Omaha Beach.)

July ceremony

Thankful for his freedom. Our then 16-year-old son, Max, during his French recensement militaire, or military duty.


Omaha beach memorial
Sacrifice. Courage. A soldier remembers:

"I started out to cross the beach with 35 men and only six got to the top, that's all." --2nd LT Bob Edlin

J'ai commencé la traversée de la plage avec trente-six hommes, six seulement sont arrivés en haut des falaises.

American Cemetery Normandy
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is one of many American cemeteries in France. To comment, click here.

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Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


Le jour du Souvenir


Poppy field

Field of poppies in the Vaucluse (photo taken last Spring).

Remerciements to "Intuit" who left a comment* yesterday that inspired the following post.

jour du Souvenir (joor-deuh-soov-neer) noun, masculine

  : Remembrance Day, November 11th, Armistice Day, Veterans Day, Poppy Day


The following is Jean Pariseau's translation of the famous war remembrance poem, In Flanders Fields, by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. McCraie, a field surgeon during the First World War, wrote the poem after seeing his friend killed during the Second Battle of Ypres.

  

 

Flanders fields

  Au champ d'honneur

Au champ d'honneur, les coquelicots
Sont parsemés de lot en lot
Auprès des croix; et dans l'espace
Les alouettes devenues lasses
Mêlent leurs chants au sifflement
Des obusiers.

Nous sommes morts,
Nous qui songions la veille encor'
À nos parents, à nos amis,
C'est nous qui reposons ici,
Au champ d'honneur.


À vous jeunes désabusés,
À vous de porter l'oriflamme
Et de garder au fond de l'âme
Le goût de vivre en liberté.
Acceptez le défi, sinon
Les coquelicots se faneront
Au champ d'honneur.

*Read the English version and learn more about this poem...
 
Comments, corrections, and suggestions welcome here.

Here is Intuit's comment, which led me to the poem:

"There's another flower of Autumn, the humble Flanders Poppy, special international symbol of remembrance of The Great War.

[On November 11th], France will celebrate Armistice Day, 90th year anniversary. http://www.rsa.org.nz/remem/poppy_sig.html

The poppy of wartime remembrance is the red corn poppy, Papaver rhoeas, a common weed of Europe. The red poppy was one of the few plants that grew on the Western Front; its seeds wait patiently for years, for disturbance and cool weather - conditions well met in the soil of intensively-shelled battlefields of France.

 

World War I catalyzed important technological innovations that changed forever the patterns of daily life and urban landscape - an era we call 'The Modern Age'.

The battlefields of France continue to disgorge an ungodly crop: soldierly remains, rusting guns, spent and still-dangerous live munitions, and personal effluvia of military life in the trenches.

It is good to think on the significance of the humble red poppy and all that it portends, when lives and lands are permanently altered through disturbance."

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie