Remembrance Day always at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month which is recognised when hostilities of World War I ended on that date in 1918 not to be mistaken with Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday nearest to 11th) in the UK and across the commonwealth when it is officially commemorated with parades church service and the laying of wreaths. I first recall watching it as a small girl with my grandma Polly the day after we watched on TV the Festival of Remembrance in the Albert Hall. Both of which did and still do bring a sense of pride for our soldiers that survived and the victims that suffered loss of limbs and tears as we watched then after she died I’d watch with my Mam with the same effects and for the past 14 years I have marched with my son and daughter as part of the Scouts, Cubs and Guide movement as a parent and Scouting assistant leader for 6 years of it, 4 year as a member of public alongside the Scouting movement with my old troop, 3 years supporting my partners daughter parade in the ATC…
& this year stood on my feet behind the sofa in my French Gite we are renting, that was Rememberance Sunday more on what happened 11/11/16 later.
Armistice of Compiègne as its also known after the location ( somewhere nord of Paris) in which it was signed was signed there that day that morning in that hour of 1918 in Paris time.
The First World War officially ended with the signing of the treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.
Forget but don’t forget the Forget-Me-Knots from yesterdays post and remember, but forget the Poppy for remembrance day, Ici dans France, we commemorate in a sombre tone with the help/use of the Cornflower called Le Bleuet.
Like we do with the Commonwealth of Nations and the Poppy. And in the same way the fields during the Great War were filled with the blue flowers in Flanders, the Somme and Picardy.
As we know the British Legion makes various flowers and collects donations from the sales of the red paper poppy in the same way, the origin of Le Bleuet as a badge dates back to 1916 when a widow of a colonial Captain, Suzanne Lenhardt a senior nurse at Hôtel des Invalides and Charlotte Malleterre the sœur of Général Gustave Léon Niox et la femme of Général Gabriel Malleterre witnessed first hand the suffering of the maimed and mutilated they started workshop so the wounded soldiers could make a small income and have and activity from the tissue made flowers that were sold to the public at various times. It was proposed as the eternal symbol of ‘those that died for France’ in 1921 and recognised by FIDAC ( Federation Interalliee des Anciens Combattants) In 1928 the French President gave his patronage and the sales of le Bleuet gradually spread across the country and by the time it was made official by the French Government in 1935 128,000 flowers were now sold.
It not recognised or so well supported as it is in Britain but sales are improving. in 2013 sales of flowers raised €1,120,000 – one of the best ever results, though not comparable to the €50million or so raised by the British Legion’s poppies.
Most of its income usually comes from collections on November 11 which is a fixed public holiday.And now is run on behalf of the Office National des Anciens Combattants et Victimes de Guerre and supports families of service-people or police officers who died or were injured in service, as well as victims of terrorism. Going back to its root as to why the campaign was started. It is also available for sale on 8th May.
I did lost of research to find out where and what happened in France and if we could manage to get to see something, we did our two minutes silence in the car, and tried to get to the service inthe city of Toulouse straight from collecting the girls at the Blangnac Airport.
Sadly due to route barree (road closure) for the event and a lack of knowledge of the city and the battery dying in the Garmin GPS and no data on our phones we gave up walking and looking at 12:20 figuring what ever was happening we had missed and stopped for a quick coffee.
We continued on after coffee, everyone still disputing over which direction was correct, and a few more streets on, passing medal and Bleuet wearing veterans as we explored, we arrived. These photos from the news online as an example.
Everything was being packed away but better late than never.
In two of the collective of Gites where we are staying one is called Coquelicot (Poppy) and another is called Bleuet.
More on the other Bleuets to follow…