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
Thank you for reading my 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 the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering 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 of any amount.

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

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


Today is Armistice Day. Share about a Veteran.

War monunent allied forces fallen soldiers Normandy beach france moment of silence
By tradition, in France, two minutes of silence are respected at 11 am, the 11th day of the 11th month: it is at this time that the armistice was implemented. Listen to this sentence in French, just below.


JOUR DE L'ARMISTICE

    : also known as Le Jour du Souvenir, and Veterans Day, November 11th is an official day to remember those who sacrificed their lives in WWI and other wars

Armistice soundfile: Hear Jean-Marc read the following sentence


En France, il est traditionnellement respecté deux minutes de silence à 11 h, le 11e jour du 11e mois : c'est à ce moment que l'armistice a été rendu effectif. -Wikipedia


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

The following story may seem an unusual rememembrance, on Veterans Day, until you read to the end.

In the winter of 2001, I left work at the vineyard each night to drive myself to driving school, careful to take the back roads and to park several blocks from the Auto-École Rivière. Though I had driven for ten years in the States, and another six in France, I had failed to exchange my Arizona driver's license for a French one, having had two years to do so. Time and again, Jean-Marc assured me that I had the right to drive in France (convinced that my AAA International Driving Permit was enough, never mind the expiration date), until one day he realized that his wife was driving without insurance (!!!); that is, should she get into an accident, the insurance contract would be void ($$$) without her having a French permis de conduire.

Having spent weeknights at driving school, attending class with would-be motorists half my age, and having finally passed l'épreuve théorique, or written exam, in the town of Fréjus, I would soon be navigating the streets of Draguignan... with a stone-faced inspecteur seated beside me.

On exam day, I shared the test vehicle with a wide-eyed eighteen-year-old who had just been ordered to pull over and get out. "Out! You are a danger to yourself and to others!" the inspecteur shouted. Seated in the back of the car, waiting my turn, I tried to understand just what my unfortunate classmate had done wrong, but was jolted out of my pensées when the inspector resumed his tirade.

"FAILED!" the inspecteur barked. He shouted a few more insults before the French kid got into the back of the car, at which point I was ordered into the driver's seat: "A vous, madame!"

"Allez-y!" the inspecteur commanded, checking his watch. I said a prayer to Saint Christopher, patron saint of safe travel (not knowing who the saint was for driver's-exam scoring), put on the left-turn signal, and drove out of the quiet neighborhood into the chaotic streets of Draguignan at rush hour.

"You don't need to be so obvious!" the inspector snapped when I threw my chin left after turn-signaling. Moments ago I'd signaled a right turn and thrown my chin over my right shoulder for good measure. We had been warned in driving school to exaggerate our gestures during testing to show the inspecteur that we were aware of those dangerous "angles morts" or blind spots. "Et les vitesses!" the inspector grumbled after I'd ground the gears once again. "Oh, but aren't cars automatic in America?!" he snickered.

Though I had been stick-shifting for sixteen years, seated next to the inspecteur I felt like I was operating a vehicle for the first time. Having completed the twenty-minute parcours through the center of Draguignan, where the unpredictable French pedestrian is king and capable of jumping from sidewalk to street center in the blink of an eye, I followed the inspecteur's instructions, pulling up in front of the American cemetery, which seemed like a bad omen to me. The inspecteur sat silently, filling out paperwork, before announcing it was time to check my vision. He ordered me to read the sign across the street. Squinting my eyes, I began:

"World War II Rhone American Cemetery and Memor...".

Before I had even finished reading, the inspector scribbled something across the page, tore off the sheet, and mumbled "Félicitations."

Ornery as he was, I had the urge to throw my arms around the inspecteur and plant a kiss beside his angry brow; only, the commandant was no longer facing me, but looking out over the quiet green fields dotted white with courage, lost in another place and time.

*     *     *

Books about the war in France...by our readers! If your French war-related book isn't mentioned, remind me and I'm happy to add it to the list

La Réunion: Finding Gilbert by Diane Covington-Carter

Alan's Letters, by Nancy Rial

Your name is Renée: Ruth Kapp Hartz's story as a Hidden Child in Nazi-Occupied France

French Vocabulary

Auto-École Rivière = Riviera Driving School
le permis (m) de conduire = driver's license
l'inspecteur (l'inspectrice) = inspector
la pensée = thought
A vous, madame = Your turn, Madam
Et les vitesses! = And the gears!
le parcours = driving route
les félicitations (fpl) = congratulations
le commandant = captain

Golden retriever and poppies veterans day armistice remembrance
It is soon to be 11 a.m. and Smokey and I are on our way down to the beach, to join others in a few moments of silence. Feel free to share something about Le Jour du Souvenir or Veterans Day, in the comments below.

Max and Jean-Marc
Meet Jean-Marc and our son Max in Texas and in Portland. 

Max and Jean-Marc will be pouring the very last ​US ​bottles of Mas des Brun and other delicious wines next December in TX and OR. If you live nearby, don't miss 
​seeing them.

Houston, ​TX ​: December 13th at 7 PM

- Winemaker Dinner at Bistro Provence, 13616 Memorial Drive, Houston Texas 77079. Tel : 713-827-8008. Reservation needed. 
 
Portland, ​OR: December 15th :
- Blackbird wine Shop ~Drop in tasting, 6-8 PM
 
Portland ​OR ​: December 16th :
- Pastaworks at City Market ~ Drop in Tasting, Noon - 2 PM 735 NW 21st Avenue
- Providore Fine Foods ~ Drop in tasting, 2 30-4 30 PM 2340 NE Sandy Blvd
- Harvest Wine Bar ~ Winemaker Dinner, 6 PM. 14559 Westlake Dr, Lake Oswego, OR 97035. Tel : 503-747-7263. Reservations needed
 
For any questions, please Email Jean-Marc at jm.espinasse@gmail.com

Poppies in remembrance
Nous n'oublierons jamais. We will not forget. 

IMG_20171111_110552

Back, now, from the beach. Smokey and I were seated on a bench, waiting for the 11th hour when a man walked into this very scene. A newsboy cap on his head, scraggly hair sticking out, and a fuzzy salt and pepper beard, he stood beside that tree and began to stare out to sea. His face was puffy and his eyes were glazed. I thought, He, too, must be observing Remembrance Day.

I had the urge to say something to him. Instead, I looked around to see if others had paused, as it was now exactly 11 a.m. There was a woman in the sea doing aerobics. A couple jogging by with their dog. A kid on a skateboard whirled by, right between the sad looking man and I. The man's seaward gaze broke. No, he, like the others, is thinking of something else, I thought.

Another moment later, a woman appeared a few meters away and the man turned and walked toward her. That's when the tears broke. He wiped his eyes on the back of each shirt sleeve. He had spent his moment of silence alone, as planned, and returned now to his companion.

A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my 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 the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering 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 of any amount.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, 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.

Thanks for sharing today's post with a friend.

A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my 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 the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering 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 of any amount.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, 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
Thank you for reading my 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 the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering 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 of any amount.

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

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens