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White markers of American valor
Throughout the area, there will be festivities of various kinds this year, celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Armistice. Concerts, outdoor films, sound-and-light shows, exhibitions, multimedia presentations with fireworks, military ceremonies, a torchlight marathon, a Franco-American ceremony and several conferences begin in June and culminate in a memorial ceremony in the Meuse-Argonne on Nov. 11, when all the church bells in the Meuse department will ring at 11 a.m.
American poet Alan Seeger, who gave his life in World War I, wrote with melancholy eloquence:
And on the tangled wires
The last wild rally staggers, crumbles, stops,
Withered beneath the shrapnel’s iron showers;
Now heaven be thanked, we gave a few brave drops;
Now heaven be thanked, a few brave drops were ours.
Air France, United and Delta airlines fly from Washington-Dulles International Airport to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, from which TGV trains go to the Marne and Meuse areas.
Hostellerie du Coq Hardi is a charming hotel in the center of Verdun with an excellent restaurant; www.coq-hardi. com, phone 33/329 86 36 36.
The small, family-operated Chateau des Monthairons in a large park in Dieue-sur-Meuse is perfect for touring the battlefield area. Rooms are tasteful and comfortable, and the kitchen is first-rate; www.chateaudesmonthairons.fr, 33/329 87 78 55. In Sommepy Tahure, La Source du Puy is a typical country restaurant and small hotel. The owners’ collection of old radios, toasters, irons and other household appliances is scattered throughout the dining room; www.lasourcedupy.com, 33/326 68 21 64.
For information on World War I celebrations, go to www.tourisme-en- champagne.com, www.marne14-18.fr, www.abmc.gov/events/index.php, www.ot-nancy.fr.
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