samedi, octobre 30, 2004

All Saints' Day

Monday is Toussaint and it is a day to celebrate all the saints for the catholic faith. For me, it means a public holiday in France. What people do during this day is to go to the cemetery to pay respect to the dead.

Today is Sat and we went with my granny-in-law to the cemetery. This cemetery is in a small village where my granny-in-law grew up. On the way out, my granny-in-law showed me the grave of a soldier who died here during WWII. It was a 19 year old pilot from New Zealand. There was also a grave of an American pilot and a few Germans soldiers graves. An old woman was standing at the entrance of the cemetery asking for donation. She is part of an association that take cares of the soldiers' graves. The association will maintain the graves and put flowers. We chatted with the old woman and she explained to us that there were even soldiers from the fourteen eighteen (1418) meaning WWI which began from 1914 and ended in 1918. By now, the families of the WWI soldiers are all gone and there is no one to maintain their graves. She even had a thin book for sale. This book is about the life of the young New Zealand soldier. Research was done by a professor through the letters this soldier wrote home and the family of the soldier.

On the way back, granny-in-law pointed out the field, about a kilometer away from the village where a WWII plane crashed and soldiers were parachuting out of the plane. She told us that her cousin found an opened parachute there and in those days, parachute was made of silk. The cousin took it and made it into a wedding gown for a neighbour as cloth was scarce in war times.

With all these thoughts, I wondered aloud that isn't 19 year old too young for a pilot? Seb replied that right now in Iraq, there are 17 year old American soldiers. It reminded me of the movie 'Gangs of New York' which I watched in the morning. Only the poors were sent to war. The rich sons stayed. During the civil war, America accepted all immigrants on the condition that a random 25% of them will be drawn to go to war. And the movie ended with the poor immigrants of New York raising up against this consitution. 200 years after, things did not seem to change. In the recent documentary movie by Michael Moore, it is also the poor being targetted to go to war. Have my thoughts lead me too far again? Have I lost you the reader? War is complicating and where lives is concern, 19 year old is simply too young an age to die.

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