⪧ We left our life in New York City to make a new one in Provence ⪦

November 11, 2008

Armistice Day - 90th Anniversary

In Europe, like in the US, the 11 November is an important day. This day in 1918 marked the end of World War I - the signing of the armistice treaty in Compiègne, France. WWI was devastating to the populations of European countries with 40 million casualties.

In response to my questions about WWI and what French people think about it, Xavier proudly said, "Well the French kept Alsace-Lorraine, ah ha ha." (The much disputed region of France that borders Germany and fueled tensions between the two nations in both wars. Historically it was after the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 that this became German territory. With the Versailles Treaty in WWI it was again French and then was briefly taken over by the Nazis in WWII).

Experiencing Veteran's Day in the US, I never really associated the day with WWI. The French are much more aware of their history. I've referred to it before, but it presses on them - on the back of their heads and informs how they behave. In France, WWI and WWII are very recent wars, modern wars after centuries of older wars. It makes for a totally different perspective.

The Brits all wear a small poppy lapel pin starting at the beginning of November in remembrance. It looks like this:


Jill said...

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be from a country who's history goes back further than 200 something years? I have wondered how it would affect the way I think about things. Apperently, it makes a difference.
I always think we should make a bigger deal of Veteran's Day.

Julie said...

Em - John's just now reading the Tuesday NYTimes article on poppies and the British. Thanks for sharing. We love you

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