In Passing, Remember, Part 4
MORT POUR LA FRANCE/ DIED FOR FRANCE
Thus, after fifty years of history, nothing more human exists on this land battered by the cold winds of winter or the hot breath of the winds of summer.
Alone, among the ruins of old pieces of walls, some lizards scoot about, sometimes encountering a viper warming itself in the sun. The birder is king, but there aren’t many for there exists no longer a speck of water.
In returning to Nevers, passing Moiry, you see on the right a tombstone of rock terminating in a pyramid, just on the border of the road. This little monument was erected to remember that at this place was the cemetery. On the front one can read, “Aux Américans morts pour la France le Droit, la Liberté (1916-1918) (To the Americans who died for France, Right and Liberty)
Rare are those who stop a moment in memory of these allied soldiers who came from so far and who had made the sacrifice of their young lives for the freedom of France.
In Passing Remember Part 5
How Does One Commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary
In remembering some 2,000 soldiers having slept their last sleep 50 years ago ( now 90 years ago )in this corner of the Nivernaise earth, who will go to bring a simple bouquet of flowers? Will there be only a bouquet of flowers from the fields ( this one for the soldiers who died as heroes, at the foot of this stone monument, poorly maintained and totally abandoned)?
For sure, the bodies were disinterred and transported to Nevers shortly after the Armistice, but there is still something shocking. The egoism of me continue to manifest itself, some forget quickly, to quickly even, others never acknowledge that such a forgetfulness might happen to the grand day, especially those who had survived the tragedy of the second world war.
Friends, readers, this is a story of the camp called St Parize le Châtel, but in reality, called American Hospital of Mars-sur-Allier because of the railroad serving it leaving from this station. And while you are stopping before this monument think of these soldiers who died in the dawn of the life and think about it as the poet recalling to you these simple words, “In passing, remember...’’
Editor's note: M. Wilrich was instrumental in getting the monument cleaned up initially. As written before it is now in good shape and has an honored spot in the cemetery in St Parize le Châtel. M. Wilrich bemoaned the fact that those who died here were forgotten but now the village remembers. My mother Rebecca Goethe DeVries forecast this in her article in La Montaagne in response to the above article in her wish that the monument be honored in the future on the American Memorial day. This happened Memorial Day weekend, 2001. My family and I put flowers on the monument in memory of the American soldiers who died there and in memory of my parents. I spoke at that event and now each Memorial Day M. Gianni Belli asks me to send a few words to be read at the ceremony of remembering. The village remembered with a grand celebration and exhibition on November 11, 2008.
Translation and note, copyright, Lucy DeVries Duffy, 2/5/2010