Liberation of Carcassonne

Flowers at the Monument of the Resistance, Square Gambetta

Flowers at the Monument of the Resistance, Square Gambetta

Earlier today at three different locations the city marked the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Carcassonne from Nazi occupation; at two memorials and at the site of a former prison. Each ceremony was similar including the national anthem, a moment of silence and the laying of a wreath. Bill and I have long maintained that learning history is much more interesting when you actually see a castle in person, visit a museum where a famous painting is displayed, or walk through a cave that humans inhabited 20,000 years earlier and view the artwork they created. What I didn’t count on is how moving it can be as well.

In November of 1942, German troops moved in to occupy Carcassonne and the surrounding area and remained here for two years until Hitler ordered his troops to leave on August 18, which they did the next day but not before taking even more lives. To avoid leaving their armaments behind, the soldiers filled the prison with munitions to create a giant bomb that destroyed the building and all of its occupants, members of the French resistance movement. Some of the names of those killed are remembered today by street and place names around the city.

Bill and I each carry a coin in our pockets, mine’s a US penny and his a euro, that we call generically our “gratitude penny” so that each time we touch it we’re reminded of all the good things in life. It looks like August 19 each year will be a significant reason for having that penny.

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About Bob

While living in North, Central and South America, in the middle of the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean, and now in Europe, my passion has remained the same: travel and meeting new friends.

Posted on August 19, 2016, in Life in France and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Wow, this is so interesting! I will look for the monument tomorrow. I don’t usually pass through Gambetta, but I will make a detour. I’ve seen several markers of where various resistance fighters were slain around town.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Goose bumps here Bob! You are a master at saying what I’ve often thought but didn’t verbalize. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the idea of the “gratitude penny”. Starting now!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well put, as always. A few months ago we went to Camp du Rivesaltes, down here in the P.O. Like Manzinar in California it was evocative and educational. You’re so right, history feels so much more “real” when you are at the site where it took place. It is often an overwhelming and humbling experience to be an observer even decades after the fact.

    Liked by 1 person

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