End of Second World War Remembered Across Normandy

MedalsAcross Normandy Victory in Europe Day was commemorated today as liberty was celebrated and those who died in the Second World War were remembered.

The 08 May has both sadness and joy for many French people and it is traditional for every town, village and city to remember with a ceremony at each war memorial, usually led by the local mayor or other dignitaries.

This year many have tried to include young people as there is an overall drive to make sure that they understand and remember the sacrifices that were made to free Europe from Nazi control.

In Saint Lo, for example, pupils from the Jules-Ferry school took part in the VE day ceremony at Place de Gaulle, along with representatives from the town hall, gendarmes, fireman and military.

‘In some parts of the world extreme ideologies are still present. This ceremony is a reminder for all what can happen,’ said the mayor of Saint Lo, François Digard.

In Rouen children from the Bachelet school took part in the official ceremony, singing the French national anthem, the Marseillaise. Wreaths were laid in the Rue Donjon which is particularly poignant as this was where the Gestapo had their offices during the war.

VE Day marks the end of six years of misery in Normandy when the Germans surrendered unconditionally. Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the Free French Forces, announced the official end of World War II to the French people on 08 May 1945.

In the region some 20,000 civilians were killed between the D-Day landings in June 1944 and VE Day. Many towns and villages were also badly damaged in the ferocious fighting that took place as the Allies drove the Germans out of France.

Schools, colleges and universities spend the period before 08 May focusing on the history of the Nazi oppression and World War II. Lessons related to this topic ensure that all generations know what happened during the war and why it is important to remember.

In Paris the main national ceremony was led by President Francois Hollande who was accompanied by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski. The part that Poles played in helping the French resistance was remembered.

About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as PropertyWire.com, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

%d bloggers like this: