Saturday, 28 November 2009

The times they are a-changin’...

I have always liked the way the official holidays are celebrated here. In earlier Blogs I have mentioned several times what the most common procedure is; whether the wreath is available or not, whether the official speech, dictated by “Paris”, is read or not, to which of the two monuments we have to go this time, and the real highlight of every occasion, namely the opening of the boot of Monsieur P.’s car from which, through a rickety tape deck a crackling, whining Marseillaise will be played. Last Armistice day (11 November) it was yet again one of those occasions.
Traditionally the wreath laying takes place in Cormatin only. We were stunned, when we noticed that Monsieur P. had indulged in buying a brand new neat and tidy amplifier, on batteries, which hosted a cassette player and a microphone. The mayor could now use a microphone to address his audience, and the Marseillaise was this time actually recognisable as such. At the end the mayor invited everyone for a vin d’honneur, but that was not what Monsieur P. had in mind. He is the last survivor of Buchenwald in Cormatin, but that is not the only reason why Monsieur P. has authority in the commune. A week earlier there had been a celebration at the monument for the deportees, to commemorate the fact that the monument had been erected 60 years ago. Obviously Monsieur P. was not impressed with the turn-out that particular day, so he strongly suggested that the whole crowd (which was exceptionally big this day) should go to Bois Dernier as well, even though there was no wreath. A week before the monument had been enhanced with a new inscription and a flagpole from which the French flag was flying proudly. The inscription reads “Nous sommes libres, notre drapeau flotte à nouveau, ils ont fait don de leur vie.” ; which means something like “We are free, our flag flies anew, they gave their lives”. After a minute of silence the Marseillaise sounded like it had never sounded here before. Still, whenever I pass by one of the monuments, I think with a bit of nostalgia of how it sounded in the good old days.....

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

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