Thursday, November 11, 2010

The War to End All Wars

Despite a chilly rain, about 80 people turned out this morning for La Ferté Saint Aubin's Armistice Day ceremony. The mayor (wearing the red, white and blue sash) placed flowers on the town's war memorial, gave a brief speech and invited residents to un pot d'amis, literally a jar of friends, a.k.a. drinks, at city hall. There are 154 names inscribed here under the heading A Nos Glorieux Morts 1914-1918, To Our Glorious Dead. That's a staggering count for a town that had just 3,500 people at the time.

The armistice was signed in the Compèigne Forest, about two and a half hours north of here. French Marshal Ferdinand Foch (pronounced "Fosh"), the Allied Supreme Commander in World War I who signed the agreement, has a large avenue named here for him. Boulevard Marechal Foch leads to the train station from our main street, which is named for another French war hero, Rue du Général Leclerc. La Ferté has many streets named for war heroes. More on this in future posts...

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who are serving or have served our countries, and to your families as well. You've made enormous sacrifices. Living where I live, I am constantly reminded that freedom is not something to be taken for granted... Happy Veteran's Day, everyone.

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