The Duty to Remember

« Peoples without memories are peoples without a future.»

Against the backdrop of this new century, which is characterized by a prevailing skepticism, by a loss of values, and by a lack of reference points, the «Duty to Remember» is often invoked as being one of the important elements in teaching citizenship to our young people. It is essential that we rely on knowledge of the past to avoid making the mistakes that caused tragedies, and that we transmit the collective memory to the youth who have not experienced war. This is not only for honoring the men and women who fought, gave their lives, were deported and were martyred, but also for transmitting the values of the Republic.

Because of this, Remembering is not an element limited to the world of combat; it is also, for the young generations, a part of their lives as citizens that we must restore to them. As such, the transfer of the Flame is one of the most important French remembrance rallies. It is a major event for many reasons:

A very newsworthy occurrence. Since it is anchored to our Capital (the Arc de Triomphe, the Unknown Soldier, and the Remembrance Flame), it is given a strong symbolic connotation, directly associated with November 11.

  • Relay based not only on Remembering but also on athletic exertion and participation.It is a veritable window that passes through seven departments in France.
  • Spectators_It is a veritable window that passes through seven departments in France.
  • Long, Commemorative Event: The itinerary covers 350 km, traveled over a period of three days and two nights around 75 official ceremonies in the visited cities.
  • Discussion Forumin several of the visited cities, for example: Paris, Meaux, Ferté-sous-Jouarre, Revigny.


The duty to remember also means achieving peace through Franco-German reconciliation

After two fratricidal world wars that killed tens of millions of people, yesterday’s combatants have finally reached out to each other. Let us learn from History!

We are at peace. However, there are conflicts all over our planet that threaten us more or less directly. We must remain vigilant and we must inculcate into the young generations the foundations of our collective memory, which brings meaning, values and lessons for the future.


Associating Youth with Acts of Remembrance

Ceremonies must adapt themselves better to the expectations of young people. This is one of the goals of the Sacred Way and Way of Liberty Committee, on the occasion of the transfer of the Sacred Flame, from Paris to Verdun, for the November 11 celebration. Our action flows efficiently from the work that was performed earlier in schools based on elements provided in this small pedagogical file that we propose to them.

This student participation gives added value to our ceremonies and is fully inserted in a citizen initiative by invoking the memory of past conflicts and by creating more awareness of current issues associated with defense.


Some questions arise ...

  • The progressive passing into oblivion of events before 1914. What will happen, in 10 or 20 years, to the memory of WWI, WWII, the Indochina War, the Algerian War ...?
  • The progressive disappearance of War Veterans, the change in attitudes (less patriotism, less associative activism ...)
  • Should we remain focused on the past?
  • Should we forget?
  • How far should we go in Remembering?

So, to counteract the forgetting: widespread mobilization!

« I saw bleeding and mutilated flesh, and I fear that the spirit died with it. Is it possible that mankind will no longer dare to cross this river of blood, which flows from the Vosges Mountains to the sea, from Verdun to Ypres?

Words, and still more words!

The soil drank the blood, the bones turned to ashes, and the great cemetery of nations is all covered with grass. Soon, everything will be ready for a new harvest.»

Jean Guéhenno

COMITÉ DE LA VOIE SACRÉE ET DE LA VOIE DE LA LIBERTÉ - 1 avenue du Corps Européen - 55100 Fleury-devant-Douaumont - Tél. 03 29 84 35 34 - Fax : 03 29 84 45 54
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