Remember what exactly?

For most, the Remembrance Day is an important reminder of a horrific conflict. At the Notre Dame cathedral, I paused to watch an Australian Digger enter in procession with representatives from other countries involved, and followed by a melancholic bagpipes.

In a rare marriage of music and moment, I reinserted my earphones right on cue to hear Cut Copy’s immortal line:

It’s the a time to think.
It’s a time to think.
It’s a time to think about the past.”

Yes, a day to consider the consequences of blindly following political doctrine, and, lessrelevantly, to imagine what WWI would have looked like if it was fought among eggs and not people.

One reason most French people like to celebrate Remembrance Day, is for the occasion to make an exceptionally long weekend. My friend Vanessa took the Friday and Monday off to make a five-day mini-vacation.

I settled for the Monday, thinking it would give me time to catch up on administrative chores. I was proven wrong, because I had banked on my bank being open on at least the Monday. But no, my local Societe General branch had all taken the Saturday to Tuesday off as well. Good thing I wasn’t relying on withdrawing or transferring any money.

In fact, the only person I met that was working today, was also the only one who was supposed to be: the Pakistani handyman who came by to install a light.

With such flippancy now widely attached to Remembrance Day, why the need to keep “celebrating” World War 1 at all. With no WWI veterans any longer alive, is it time to move on from?

This is the viewpoint of my friend Thomas, who could be considered half-German, half-French. An international fruit trader, Thomas was certainly not going to mention to his German clients the reason for this public holiday in France.

Others friends too, were also having difficulty coming to terms with Remembrance Day, if not for slightly divergent reasons. Yes, Camilla and Courtney were also having difficulty coming to terms with daylight, and were not remembering much at all.

When we left their house little after midnight last night, Camilla was launched face down and fully clothed across her bed in the sitting room of her elegant apartment overlooking the Chatelet tower. Courtney would do the same 30 minutes later, after spending the intervening time in a long and involved conversation with herself and an empty bottle.

Regardless of what they did or did not remember of the previous night -Courtney for example professing a love of M Night Shaymalyan films – they were not oblivious to the message that should be heeded: never again, shall we chase wine and beer with vodka and cranberries.

Lest we forget.


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