"In small towns and villages all over France, officials, dignitaries, will have been laid wreathes at the foot of the local war memorial. All very official. There is however no popular and collective rememberance as we have in the UK and that is symbolised by the wearing of poppies.
I like the poppy spirit, similar to the old War spirit where, everyone is doing his or her « bit ». We can all « chip in » and remember. Out here in France, the act of rememberance is official and institutionalised...."
[Updated: Maybe the Tea Party types will remember the Brits burned our capital? ]
I asked the question of my trainees a few days ago – a group of young French army lieutenants – fresh out of military collège, and come down to Bourges for a year to learn their craft – logistics – thèse are the guys that have to get the supplies to the front line.
« Can you work with the Brits » I ask
« Are French army practices compatible with those opf the British army ? »
One young lieutenant tells me that the British « betrayed » the French at Dunkirk. Another enters into an anti British discourse based on the évents at Mers el Kebir, and a third talks of Waterloo. De Gaule would be happy at the anti British sentiment, but in today’s world, we have a long way to go before we can hope to work together.