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Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day: the French community remembers

By Marie Decreme

The French community people paid tribute to the soldiers of the First World War yesterday afternoon, in Grosvenor Gardens. The ceremony was presided over by the French Ambassador.

It was 3pm when about two hundred people gathered around the statue of Marshal Foch, in London. On this 11 November, it was time to honour the memory of the fallen from the Great War. Officers and soldiers, French and British, were there to recall the brotherhood in arms that the two countries shared in this first worldwide conflict. Poignantly, a lone bugler began the proceedings.

Christophe Premat, Sylvie Bermann, Audrey Lewis and Olivier Cadic

The French ambassador Sylvie Bermann gave a speech celebrating “Franco-British friendship”, followed by an address by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Audrey Lewis. The symbolism was strong; in front of the statue of Marshal Foch, former Supreme Commander of the British and French armies, the two women paid tribute to the sacrifices made by the young men of both countries. Then, under a French flag, they unveiled a plaque that recounts the story of the newly renovated statue, inaugurated by the Prince of Wales in 1930.

Wreaths of poppies and cornflowers were then laid, by Christophe Premat, French citizens overseas MP, Olivier Cadic, French citizens overseas senator, and other Franco-British representatives. The soldiers saluted, the bugler sounded “Aux morts” (“For the dead”), and the ceremony drew to a close. One minute of silence was observed, and then students from the Lycée Français sang the first verses of La Marseillaise, a moving moment for all present. This year, more people than ever attended the commemoration; they wanted to be part of the First World War centenary celebrations. They wanted to remember those who gave their lives for their country.

The commemoration then moved to the French Ambassador’s residence, where a number of Second War soldiers were honoured with the award of medals. “Once again, our countries stood side by side to defend liberty”, recognised Sylvie Bermann. Six British veterans received the Légion d’honneur, for their “total commitment and devotion”, the highlight of this Remembrance Day. The ambassador repeated the words of Marshal Foch: “a man without a memory is a man without life, a people without memory is a people without a future”… We must not forget.

French Ambassador and Veterans

For more photos of the Remembrance Day, click here.


13/11/2014 - marketing said :

As Far as we know Sandi, France is the only country for which the 11th November is a public holiday.

13/11/2014 - sandi.dunn said :

Is 11 November a public holiday in France? Also, in the rest of Europe too? It is not in UK . If you know which countries keep 11 Nov a public 'holiday' please let me know as soon as possible. email Thank you


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