Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Lockdown diaries, day thirteen, we will remember them

French village lockdown diaries we will remember them 11th November 2020
Our village remembers


Day thirteen, Wednesday 11th November 2020 

We will remember them

As 11 o’clock fell in France, our online yoga class took a respectful pause and minute’s silence. Standing quietly on my mat, my eyes were drawn to the small poppy on the spine of The Last Veteran by Peter Parker, sitting amongst books on a similar theme on Adrian’s bookshelf.



French village lockdown diaries we will remember them 11th November 2020
Adrian's bookshelf

 

Every year our village holds a small ceremony on 11th November at the war memorial in the car park, opposite the church. We have always attended, with Ed, who in recent years has often had the honour of being the village flag bearer. When I was on the council, I introduced the laying of a poppy wreath to sit alongside the fresh flowers from the commune and Ed and I would read out a verse from the war poem For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon. 

 

This morning the Maire and a few others, masked and maintaining safe distances from each other, laid the floral tribute at the base of the memorial. There was no vin d’honneur or aperitif served in the salle des fêtes, and yet another moment where the community would normally come together, passed into Covid-19 obscurity. 


 

French village lockdown diaries we will remember them 11th November 2020
Laying the poppy wreath


We respectfully waited until midday, 11 o’clock in the UK, and then quietly laid the poppy wreath next to the maire’s flowers. There was no audience to hear our poem, nor any French friends or neighbours to need Ed’s translation, but marking the moment still seemed the correct thing to do.

 

“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, not the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.”

Laurence Binyon



French village lockdown diaries we will remember them 11th November 2020
Poppys in a field in France



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