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French Memories


May 8, explains Le Monde, is the day when French presidents sally forth to celebrate their victory (with some supporting roles played by unnamed others) over the Nazis in 1945. Our little village held a big display — bands, flags, packed church. No Americans in sight, of course, since we keep the curtains drawn and hadn’t been invited anyway. Probably a wise move.

Besides, there are memories of war that no outsider could possibly recall. That thought occurred to me when I saw stacked on a table at a local brocante a “History of French Wars in the XXth Century” beautifully bound in ten volumes.

This must also be the day celebrating the victory in the great war waged by Chirac’s énarques against the U.S. (2001-2005), at least if the papers give a clue. That war is all behind us now; as a loser, it’s fortunate for me that here forgiveness seems to pool in great reservoirs with enough to go ’round for all. Our most heroic combatants in that war — Les Simpsons — are also commemorated today in Le Monde. The words “eating,” surrender,” “cheese,” and “monkeys” do not seem to appear in the text, even in translation. “Doughnuts” makes it, though.


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