Thursday, June 09, 2005
Last week my landlord gave me an invitation for a ceremony at Les Invalides, honoring soldiers who died for France in Indo-Chine. Since I thought this would be an interesting event, I called my French friend and asked if she could possibly take the kids to the Jardin for my son's golf lesson (her son also takes a lesson). She said she could and my daughter actually agreed to go with her!
Yesterday, June 8, I attended the ceremony . It was the first national day of homage to those French soldiers who died in Indo-Chine.
The red stripe meant that it was an invitation of honor-- given to those who had fought in a war for France.
I can't tell you how much I felt like I finally fit in to life in France. I, a foreigner, obtained a special ticket to get into a special ceremony! Once I entered the court of Les Invalides, I found a good place to stand... right behind the last row of seats.
The man next to me was a veteran with lots of medallions. I asked him if I could take a picture of his medals.
The ceremony was simple but touching. Lots of music was played and speeches were given. They brought out a coffin of an unknown soldier and I think medals were placed on the coffin. This unknown soldier belonged to a group of 13 soldiers whose remains were discovered in Vietnam in December 2004 and were repatriated. He will be buried later on the necropolis of Frejus. The man directly in front of me had to sit down when a version of "taps" played, overwhelmed by emotion, he wiped away tears.
The unknown soldier.
More than 30,000 people died for France during the war of Indo-China (1945-1954). Each year, on June 8, an official ceremony will be organized in Paris.
-- said Auntie M in Paris
And that invitation is certainly an incredible momento.
# posted by Joe : 4:35 AM
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