Saturday, February 6, 2010

In Passing, Remember (Continued) Notes re the monument

The Monument to the American Soldiers Restored
Monsieur Wilrich and Others Planning the Restoration of the Monument.

Over the years since 1918 the monument to the Americans “Mort Pour La France, Le Droit et La Liberté’’ had fallen into neglect and ruin. When my parents, Charles and Rebecca DeVries, visited Moiry in the 60's, Monsieur Wilrich, the author of this article, took an interest in getting it restored and it was.

Again it fell into neglect. In the 80's when I visited Moiry, M. François Buveau, a schoolmate of my mother, would clean it up when he knew I was coming and we would go together to put flowers on the monument. I remember one poignant moment when we stood together at the monument and Monsieur Buveau sang “La Marseillaise’’ and I sang “The Star Spangled Banner.’’

In 2001 the monument was cleaned up again for Memorial Day for a weekend honoring the history of the Americans who were there in WWI and the love story of my parents, Charles and Rebecca DeVries. Mme Colette Mayot, Monsieur Gianni Belli and others, members of Hérédit, a geneological society, organized the exposition. I attended with members of my family. We had a ceremony at the monument along busy Route 7. We brought a flag that had been flown over the Capital, letters of commendation from Senators Kennedy and Kerry and Representative Delahunt. The commemoration was also entered into the Congressional Record with a commemorative tribute delivered to the village.

For the 90th anniversary of the Armistice of 1918 on November 11, 2008 my son Daniel and I were the honored guests. We were the link to their past in the story of the love of the American Doughboy Charles DeVries stationed at the Mars sur Allier American Hospital and the French peasant girl, Rebecca Goethe. The school children viewed the exposition about the Americans in their village so long ago and participated in the ceremony in the cemetery at the monuments to the French and American soldiers who died in WWI. The children presented poems and art about hopes for peace. At a mass in honor of the American and French soldiers in the lovely 12th century church the priest read one of my mother's stories, “The Mother,’’ a poignant story about a mother who goes to meet the troop trains hoping she will find her missing son. The “Vignettes de Moiry,’’ my mother Rebecca Goethe DeVries stories, which I have edited, of her youth in Moiry have become part of the history and folklore of the village

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