Whether it is due to a growing interest in family history, an interest in historic wars or in respect of those who fought to protect our freedom, many people have taken the trip to visit the fields that were once the battlefields of Normandy. During the First World War, these fields were full of soldiers of all nationalities, many of whom lost their lives in battle.Armistice Day on 11 November is a national holiday in France. Citizens remember the 600,000 soldiers that were killed in the Nord-du-Pais-Calais region of France between 1914 and 1918. In France two consecutive minutes of silence are observed. The first is to remember those who lost their lives and the second is in respect of those families and friends who were left behind. In France the blue cornflower, rather than the red poppy is the symbol of remembrance. Both flowers represent the resilience of life, as they both continued to flower despite the constant shelling, trench digging and trampling of soldiers that turned fields into plains of mud.One hundred years on from the start of the First World War, a memorial has this year been inaugurated at the largest war cemetery, Notre Dame de Lorette. Soldiers are named on this memorial in alphabetical order rather than being categorised by their nationality: great loss is felt no matter where the individual was born.
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