Lettre d'information

What to commemorate?

What to commemorate?

Feierliche Einweihung des Ehrenmals für die in Auslandsoperationen für Frankreich Gefallenen, Park André Citroën, Paris, 11. November 2019. © Philippe Servent/Présidence de la République

While there are some past events, historical figures, wars and battles which it goes without saying should be commemorated, that is not so for all the narratives that have forged our national history or the remembrance they have engendered. Whereas some foreign nations meet annually on a “Memorial Day”, France’s commemorative calendar is centred around 11 national holidays, and new ones may yet be incorporated. How to commemorate these “new memories” under construction, such as that of the servicemen and women killed on overseas operations or the victims of terrorist attacks? What meaning to give the military commemorations, rooted in tradition, and to the other forms of commemoration? This second section hopes to answer these and other questions, in order to shed light on the distinctive nature of French remembrance and set out the commemorative challenges of tomorrow.