Remembrance Day 2014

November 11, 1918 saw the end of the hostilities of World War 1 and it is on this date every year that people commemorate the day and think about all those who lost their lives in the war. Remembrance day November 11th also commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at 11:00 am.

I am a history student and so the events of WWI are very interesting to me and I love learning about it but I have never been to a Remembrance Day commemoration because we don’t really do them in Ireland. During World War 1 Ireland  had no direct involvement in the war but as we were at the time members of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland many men fought in the war but did so in a British uniform. It was also during this time that Ireland was struggling to obtain independence from the UK with the events of the 1916 Easter Rising being an example of this. I think that it is because of bad memories that this time brings back for many Irish people that Remembrance day is not really commemorated as many want to forget. Don’t get me wrong there are many commemorations in Ireland and that is just my opinion having studied the war ,but the commemorations are not to the same extent and scale as you might see in England or France and they do not usually concern the general public.

The commemorations here in Rennes were quite a sight for me as I have never seen anything like them. Many regiments of soldiers all clad in their finery lined up in front of the Hotel de Ville in a square that saw much action during WWI. The Hotel de Ville itself was also decorated with French flags and flowers, illuminated in the darkness.  People gathered from all backgrounds and generations to remember those who lost their lives fighting for the world we live in today. It is a frightening thing to think about how different our world might have been had the events of WWI turned out a different way.

We had a moment silence as the Mareillaise was sung and not one person even whispered a it was playing, the whole square was in total silence remembering all those who lost their lives in the war. The rain held off as we stood and remembered , whether we directly knew someone who had fought or not , we commemorated as a community  the war and remembered all those who had died. I say ‘we’ and ‘community’ like I knew everyone their but I didn’t but that didn’t matter because at during the hour or so as we stood and thought of all the men and boys who lost their lives we were like a community remembering the tragedy so that hopefully it will never happen again. We are all human and I could see that tonight as we remembered people we had  never known or met but we know the sacrifice they made for us.

Emma

xx

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