Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Striking Memorial...

One thing that's always a bit of a surprise about hunting this forest is the amount of war reminders one happens on. Several times I have mentioned physical artifacts, and the immense cemeteries are terrifying. But memorials are EVERYWHERE.

Some are impressive and huge, like this one in Compiegne, reflecting ts subject:

But all aviators weren't famous, and to me the most moving are the little ones, from both German wars, usually at the site of an airplane crash. This is for an English air crew, but put up by the French:

More often they commemorate just the lone pilot. Sometimes truly in the middle of the woods, and all different- not some standard cookie cutter design. I've never seen one even slightly overgrown or in poor repair, even when there's not a path to approach it.

This is the most elaborate one I've found. The little roofed board has a picture of the flier with his friends, and some other information. His engine and wing remain from the crash.

He does, too.

It's been icy cold here for a week, those three bouquets of flowers are fresh and bear no politican's name.

I get very angry when I hear an American denigrate the efforts French people made to stop the Hun. This man wanted his next breath just as much as any paratrooper on D-1, and his family grieved for him, smashed and roasted in these lonely woods.

Merci, Lieutenant Monty. And to whoever cuts the woods back to keep your memory green.

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