Monday, November 24, 2014

Rural France never forgets its fallen heroes

You don’t have to travel far in the rural French countryside
muses Mark Johnson
before you start to notice the dignified and permanent reminders of those who fell in the battles of the 20th century. In almost every village, the centrepiece on the main green is usually a memorial to the fallen heroes of the past. They’re usually adorned, year round in fact, by a tricolour and right now, of course, they’re decorated in wreaths of flowers.

 … Even though I’ve never known the hardship and loss that the ancestors of my French neighbours – and of course that of my own ancestors – experienced, my upbringing taught me that the world I live in today was only made possible by their sacrifice.

The memorials themselves are simple enough, but what really touches me is how they always seem to be well cared for and kept ‘alive’ with fresh flowers carefully placed around the bases, and that the grass around them is always kept neat and tidy.

You never see who keeps them in this constant state of care, but I’m glad that they do it. It shows that, even after a generation, people still remember those who fell, and perhaps, sadly, those who continue to lose their lives trying to keep the peace in today’s war torn nations.