From: Philip Curme Phil_Curme@compuserve.com
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 1998 05:01:08 -0400
Following on from the football post - Having reread Alistair Horne's "The
Price of Glory" recently I subsequently spent a few days exploring the
Verdun battlefield staying in the town the night of the world cup final.
Fascinating exploring Douaumont, Vaux, etc with the aid of a torch and
Horne's account of specific actions. We were less successful in finding
German heavy artillery positions deep in the woods to the east of Gremilly
although I did stagger out of the sodden undergrowth with a standard issue
French army water bottle. Anyway in the evening we joined several thousand
french locals in the local sports hall watching the final on a big screen.
I had intended to spend the evening walking around the Verdun citadel and
then visiting the massive memorial which dominates the town centre. We did
get to the memorial, with six french kids in the back of the car, two of
whom were waving huge national flags. The centre of the town was chaos -
flares,flags,singing,traffic at a standstill and car horns sounding. The
monument had become the centrepiece of all of the festivities and the 100
or so steps leading up to the top were covered in patriots waving flags
setting off flares. The square below was a sea of ecstatic faces. Looking
back I would have expected the whole thing to have seemed incongruous but
at the time this display of national fervour in this place seemed very
appropriate. Viva La France ! Viva Zidane ! But oh, what a headache in the
Back to the "garden"