Just try typing 11/11/2011 in your web browser and see what results you get, in this case a mere 14,490,000,000. There are volumes of prophesies regarding the significance of the date. Numerologists and astrologists have published tomes on the subject and the demise of the world as we know it. Bored? You could spend hours on this subject.
This post has nothing to do with that.
November 11, 1918 was the official end of World War I. It was at the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” when the Armistice was officially signed with Germany, agreeing to the end of hostilities. In France, Armistice Day is a national holiday to celebrate the country’s role in the allied victory, of this Great Patriotic War. The French population suffered tremendously during the First World War. Almost every town has a memorial to recognize the lives lost in battle. The French use the blue cornflower or Bleuet as a symbol to commemorate the sacrifices, the blue reminiscent of the uniforms worn by soldiers.
The following poem was written by Guillaume Apollinaire (his adopted name), his reflections of youth and conflict.
De vingt ans
Qui as vu des choses si affreuses
Que penses-tu des hommes de ton enfance
Tu connais la bravoure et la ruse
Tu as vu la mort en face plus de cent fois
Tu ne sais pas ce que c’est que la vie
Transmets ton intrépidité
À ceux qui viendront
Tu es joyeux, ta mémoire est ensanglantée
Ton âme est rouge aussi
Tu as absorbé la vie de ceux qui sont morts près de toi
Tu as de la decision
Il est 17 heures et tu saurais
Sinon mieux que tes aînés
Du moins plus pieusement
Car tu connais mieux la mort que la vie
Ô douceur d’autrefois
You who have seen such terrible things
What do you think of the men from your childhood
You know what bravery is and cunning
You have faced death more than a hundred times
You do not know what life is
Hand down your fearlessness
To those who shall come
You are joyous your memory is steeped in blood
Your soul is red also
You have absorbed the life of those who died beside you
You are resolute
It is 1700 hours and you would know
How to die
If not better than your elders
At least with great piety
For you are better acquainted with death than life
O sweetness of bygone days
beyond all memory.
The blue cornflower is subtle and can be overlooked with the multitudes of other flowers in the spring. However, the red poppy fields are abundant and a striking nod to the poem by John McCrae “In Flanders Fields”.
Regardless of what symbol you prefer, please take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of those before us.
Please click here to see Ginger’s commemorative video.
Lest We Forget.
[tfb username=’GingerandNutmeg’ count=’true’ lang=’en’ theme=’light’]