VE Day 2006

The 8th of May is kept throughout Europe as the day WWII ended. If France it is a public holiday. The exception is Russia and the American 90th Division who keep 9th of May as the day the war ended. The Russians under Stalin were deeply suspicious of the surrender signed by the rest of the Allies on the 8th of May and insisted that it be signed again in Berlin the next day. For the 90th Division the reason was much the same, they were in Czechoslovakia and were waiting to be relived by the Russian Army, so they rightly claim that their war ended a day later. In our small village of Fierville Les Mines, in company with all cities, towns and villages in France we gathered at our war memorial, held a minutes silence in memory of those who died for the freedom of Europe and then went to the village hall to toast or liberators in a glass or two of wine. The French Minister of Defense (Hamlaui Mekachera) as usual sent a letter to be read out to all mayor's and I think it is worth translating some of it below:

"Today in every community in France we gather to commemorate the victory of the 8th of May 1945. We are here to pay homage to all who participated in the fall of the Third Reich and her allies, to those who fell on the battlefield or disappeared into those terrible death camps. We think also of those soldiers who died in the fall of France. We remember also those who rallied to the call of General De Gaulle and those who resisted the Nazis in France. We think also of our brothers in arms who fought in the Pacific and Indo China and brought final victory. We are here to express our gratitude to our Allies. They came from Great Britain and the Commonwealth, from the United States of America, Russia and from other countries within Europe. We are here also to remember those who succumbed to the Nazi regime, victims of the extermination camps, those persecuted, oppressed, deported, shot, massacred, interned, all martyrs of an barbaric ideology. Frenchmen and Frenchwomen of all convictions we are here today to show our faithfulness to the hero's who portrayed the values of Liberty, Equalities and Friendship."

The first picture shows our house in the centre of the village, the US flag flying is an original forty eight star flag sent to me by one of our visitors, likewise the smaller flags of the Allies.



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