(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

we now return you to your regular programming...

first off, apologies.

I needed to take a break from things here, I am going through some serious changes in life and haven't yet decided what to get into here and what to leave private...also some of the changes mean that maybe I don't want my life to be the same open book it has been these past three years.

unfortunately, I still haven't figured that all out yet. so for now, I am going to continue writing about this and that and try to divine the direction for my writing.

yesterday, on my way to see a man about a horse ... lol, no but seriously yesterday on my way to see a man about a door purchased on leboncoin (a french site similar to craigslist), on a random seemingly deserted country road in the middle of nowhere I stumbled upon a newly erected monument, not yet open to the public ... jutting up from a large field, accopanied only by a lone oak tree and remnants of a stone wall. this beautiful monument of a combat soldier with a dead or dying comrade in his arms, was a sombre anthracite grey, on top of buttery limestone. It was erected in memory of American soldiers and marks the site of one of the first major battles, involving Americans, of the first world war. Over 1100 soldiers, french,german, american, were injured in this field and 162 Americans died there. This was the Battle of the Croix Rouge Farm, July 25-26, 1918. Nimrod T. Frasier, the son of one of the injured soldiers and a director of the foundation at Croix Rouge Farm, helped sponsor this monument in memory of his father and his father's comrades. These soldiers were from the Rainbow Division of Alabama, part of the U.S. National Guard.

There was not a soul around, not a car, a person, an animal. yesterday, it was a cold, foggy, misty day in the north of France; to view this monument you had to climb down a large ditch and up again, or scramble across a pile off large boulders. I really had no idea what we had stumbled across ... until I did more research. I discovered the real significance of this battle ... and the sculpture itself. It was difficult to imagine this peaceful farm field as it was on that summer day, filled with young soldiers battling in blood soaked fields, the soldiers remaining alive recounted hand-to-hand combat unlike any other they had experienced. The fortified farm buildings blasted from existence, a small stretch of stone wall all that remains.

Instead of regurgitating everything that has already been so carefully documented on a wonderful site here, let me just tell you it is worth the visit. To the website or the actual site, whichever you can manage.

The dedication of this monument and opening of the site will be November 12th. The sculpture made its first stop in England and it looks so different and formal in the picture I have shared. Mounted on plain blocks of French limestone in the middle of a large nearly empty field, accompanied only by a lone tree, the remnant of a wall and a lone stone bench ... its charcoal color seems more like a charred ghostly remnant of the piteous nature of battle.

I am going to try and make the dedication but if not, I feel as if I have already had my own private reception. an american, stumbling across something so profound and installed specifically in remembrance and support of franco-american relations. indescribably touching;

just another random Saturday of my french life.

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