A nationwide fundraising campaign showing solidarity with fallen military personnel and the victims of terrorist attacks came to HEC Paris last week.
Members of the campus community purchased 230 blue paper flowers, otherwise known as the Bleuet de France, in honor of Veteran’s Day and the sacrifices made in the pursuit of peace. They raised a total of €1,315 for l’ONACVG, the French organization that aids victims and their families.
Four HEC Paris MBA students, led by Vincent Dillies, Class of 2021, organized the campus-wide sale using logistical support from Ecole de Guerre. “Selling the bleuets says ‘thank you’ to those people in the Armed Forces who gave their lives or were injured defending their country,” explains Vincent, currently a Major in the French Army.
Ever since World War I, the bleuet (cornflower or bachelor’s button in English) has been a French symbol of remembrance. Like the British poppy, the bleuet is a hardy flower that flourished in Europe’s devastated battlefields. Its color is reminiscent of the blue uniform worn by young recruits. Wounded veterans began crafting them out of fabric and paper and selling them as early as 1925.
The bleuets are traditionally worn on November 11th and May 8th, the days that mark the end of World War I and World War II. In 2012, November 11th became official day of remembrance for everyone who has died in the service of France, including victims of terrorism.