Vive la france - continued
Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
147Trip End Oct 25, 2010
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Standing outside the Salle des Fetes, a year ago. Patsy and Gordon had arrived by now, good, some familiar faces. Gordon, clearly in his element amongst the ex-soldiers, some in uniform, smiling, keeping an eye on Pasty, who was almost skipping with delight, most likely reliving the days she was the belle of the ball.
I have no idea what the procedure is, but some meaningful looks are exchanged and a frail old boy proudly manages to lift an enormous flag, the pole jammed into his soft protruding belly, and off the assembled march without much ado, chatting and exchanging greetings, not too many steps up hill to the monument.
The mayor will make a speech there. An amiable tall, middle-aged, white haired feller, with ears I can't take my eyes off - very big and pink, sticking out, making me think of Noddy - it's hard to refrain from smiling
He stands at the memorial, that is strangely adorned with empty bombs ? at each of the four corners, containing little French flags, desperately trying to keep their heads above the surface, as their sticks are too short. It as if a child was given permission to decorate the monument.
After a short speech, I don't get much of it, the names of the fallen are called out, one by one, followed by: 'mort pour la France.'
And the crowd echoes those words solemnly. 44 times, if I counted well.
It's mesmerizing, it's touching.
Soon as the last word is spoken the group breaks into a merry amble, down the hill and down the red lane - drinks are awaiting,
Drink to the past, drink to the present, any excuse......vive la France!