PAIX: Share your thoughts, stories, for Veterans Day

Finding gilbert
Diane Covington-Carter’s award-winning book, “Finding Gilbert, A Promise Fulfilled,” takes you on her journey to find the French orphan, Gilbert, who her father tried to adopt during the war in 1944. In this touching and true story, Covington-Carter reminds us that, “in the end, it’s all about who you love and letting them know.” Order the book.

Today's word: LA PAIX

    : peace

Click here: Listen to Jean-Marc read this entry from wikipedia.fr:
Le coquelicot blanc a été lancé comme symbole de paix pour la première fois en Angleterre en 1933 par la Co-operative Women's Guild (CWG). Il visait à commémorer toutes les victimes de la guerre, aussi bien civiles que militaires. The white poppy was first launched as a symbol of peace in England in 1933 by the Co-operative Women's Guild (CWG). It aimed to commemorate all the victims of the war, both civilians and military.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Last night Jean-Marc and I watched half of A Hidden Life--a film about a peasant farmer who refuses to fight during WWII. I knew my husband would be drawn to such breathtaking scenes of the Austrian Alps, even if the movie's theme might be too religious for him.

While Jean-Marc didn't get a holy overdose (alléluia!), if we quit watching after the first hour it was for the long, drawn-out scenes, during which the main character, Franz Jägerstätter, suffers his conviction not to kill--a decision which ignites the fury of fellow villagers and members of his own family, who view him as a traitor.  

Our emotions may ignite when we think about war as we do, especially on November 11, le jour de l'armistice, which makes me wonder: How do pacifists observe Armistice Day? Is it faux-cul to want to honor military veterans (je vous remercie!) while at the same time rejecting war (je suis contre!)? 

As with la liberté de parole, peace is a tricky thing and freedom is not straightforward--la liberté n'est pas gratuite. We all have a debt of gratitude for those who risked their lives so that we may continue to live ours.

     *    *    * 
Tomorrow is Veterans Day. Un grand merci to all who fought for our liberty, and a special nod to reader Herm Meyer (90-year-old veteran), drafted into the Korean War. Later, his duty after extensive radio school training was with NATO in Fontainebleu, France.

...and to 95-year-old reader Gus Elison who was bombed by the Japanese in WWII, flew into hurricanes while a member of the navy's Hurricane Hunting Squadron, and who served a tour in Vietnam.

We will never forget. On that note please share your thoughts on this day of remembrance, and mention someone you know who served or currently serves. 

FRENCH VOCABULARY
alléluia = hallelujah
le jour de l'armistice
= Armistice Day
je vous remercie = I thank you
je suis contre = I am against it
faux-cul = two-faced, hypocritical
la liberté de parole = freedom of speech
la liberté n'est pas gratuite = freedom is not free

Blessed_are_the_Peacemakers
Blessed are the Peacemakers by George Bellows. Anti-war cartoon depicting Jesus with a halo in prison stripes alongside a list of his seditious crimes. First published in The Masses in 1917. (image, text, via Wikipedia)

IMG_20160815_095309
A statue in the French Alps reads: Chantemerle reconnaissante à ses enfants morts pour la France. The town of Chantemerle is grateful to her children who died for France. For more about Remembrance Day traditions, read the post Le Jour de Souvenir.

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


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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A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


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."

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. PayPal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, ZELLE is a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens