Last night, Craig and I decided to go to Narbonne today to do laundry and shop. The laverie (laundromat) is across the street from Les Halles (the indoor marketplace) and the open-air marché is held on Thursday’s along the canal just outside Les Halles. We stayed up too late, so I asked Craig to set the alarm for 7:00 am. Felix must have overheard us ‘cause he started rousing me out of my slumber about 6:55 and then moved over to nudge Craig up. Guess we don’t need the alarm clock….we’ll just let Felix know when we need a wake-up call.
To save some money, we washed our new, brought from California, flannel sheets here at the cottage…..then they can go right into the dryer at the laverie. With baskets of wet sheets and dirty clothes, we headed off to Narbonne. The streets around Les Halles and the marché were blocked by police……strange……the roads have never been blocked before on market day. We took a circuitous route around the roadblocks and found parking near our destinations. We decided to shop the markets first. As we headed toward the canal, we realized why the city was so crowded and the roads were blocked…..it’s Armistice Day in France…..Veteran’s Day in the US.
There was a ceremony taking place at the Memorial near the canal…..soldiers, gendarmes and foreign legionnaires were all at attention while heartfelt speeches were spoken to the gathering crowd. The ceremony ended with the robust singing of “La Marseillaise.”
I’m always touched by the Memorials erected in each town to commemorate and remember the townspeople who died defending their country. The Memorials often include the names of Americans who died while defending these little towns and villages…..their bravery and valor still remembered by an appreciative country. The Memorials are carefully tended to by townspeople too young to have any memories of the horrors and tragedies that their villages suffered during these wars. These aren’t impersonal statues but living memorials from people still grateful for the sacrifices made to keep their country free. American soldiers are honored here on Veteran’s Day and every day.
O beautiful for heroes proved, in liberating strife,
Who more than self, their country loved,
And mercy more than life….
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine