GRANDVILLIERS- ATHY - LA BALAD'IRLANDAISE

TEMOIGNAGES

Souvenirs de la visite du 1er juillet :

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A REFLECTION ON THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME COMMEMORATION 2013 BY AN IRISH YOUTH:
Really, I find trying to condense my experience – or my thoughts about my experience – of the trip to Grandvilliers for the Battle of the Somme commemoration into a few lines to be somewhat of an injustice, but I shall try my best.
Arriving from my flight with Michael (though he is known to friends in Athy and beyond simply as ‘Kearney’) I truly did not know what to expect. I was both nervous and excited about the coming events, and also somewhat apprehensive about staying with my host family. (Such worries were soon wiped away, however, as my hostess and her son proved wonderful company and truly kind and pleasant people – even if they were apprehensive about their ability to speak English; I assured them it was nothing compared to my reservations about attempting to speak French – something I had never quite mastered.)
As for the official events, the ceremonies, I cannot possibly put into words how emotionally moved I was by them – and how horrified I was by the sheer number of casualties and fatalities of the Somme; something that I read into upon my return home. Truthfully, I think that this trip is extremely worthwhile for young people – and not just the young people of Athy; a town with whom, of course, Grandvilliers has a special relationship. In school, you see, Irish youth are not really exposed as much to the first world war as they are to the second; indeed the first remains as a mysterious prologue to its more (dare I say) “popular” sequel. They hear nothing of the losses of the some, or the countless brave young boys (on all sides) whose lives were quenched like candles in the wind on the first day alone. The trip, therefore, is important – if not for the educational purposes, then certainly for the fact that such a horrible conflict should never be allowed happen again; and it is only the young that can prevent such an atrocity being repeated in the future.
Thank you all for this matchless opportunity. I will remember it forever.
(Joseph O’ Hara) 20 ans
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Cette journée a été très instructive pour moi. La cérémonie au bord de la tranchée (Lochnagar Crater), aussi la visite du musée m'ont fait comprendre ce qui s'est passé pendant cette guerre et m'ont appris beaucoup de choses que je n'aurais pas appris en cours.
Julie Gosson - 11 ans Coilège Ferdinand Buisson Grandvilliers
 


09/07/2013
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