Honoring the "French" family
In 1920 the French government created the Medal of Honor of the French Family, awarded to mothers who successfully raised four or more children. Many changes have taken place in the decree since then and in 1982 it was renamed the Medal of the French Family. In addition, fathers or anyone else who had raised several children in an appropriate way were eligible. Later still another change in the decree resulted in the Medal of the Family - since it is no longer necessary for the recipients to be French, only for the children to be French.
The recipients have to be recommended for the honor, usually by the mayor of their city.
Originally there were three medals - bronze, silver and gold. Bronze for four or five children, silver for six or seven, and gold for eight or more children. However, that too has been changed to just bronze, no matter how many children.
At the outset the medal was clearly a way of rewarding French mothers who had worked very hard raising large families and a way of encouraging large families. Over time, and with the demographic upheavals, the medal has been diluted in importance as a national symbol and has become, today, an omen of the loss of nationhood.
A certain number of recipients are welcomed every year at Elysée Palace. This past December, those who raised five children were:
Saadia Ayar née Jabir,
And those who raised six or seven children:
The photo above says it all.
One question: Were these the only women recommended? Are foreign women the only ones having large families? Or are the French women simply being deliberately overlooked? Surely there are still large Catholic families in France, but it is not in the nature of the mayors of France or the president to acknowledge them.
Thanks to the reader who sent the information. Terre d'Israel was also a source.
An interesting article posted at Le Salon Beige in May 2013 tells of one woman's decision to return the medal she received on June 6, 1993, during the presidency of François Mitterrand. In a long letter addressed to François Hollande, she explains that the Taubira law legalizing homosexual marriage denatures the institution she and her husband valued and dedicated their lives to, as they raised eleven children:
In the recognition that a nation grants to its families there is the consideration of a service. It is a simple service, natural but demanding, of a mother and a father who bring into the world the children born of their love. Because of this love, they raise them, not only for themselves and their right, but to build the civilization of tomorrow.
Here you have, Mr. President, a profound contradiction between the concept of the family advocated by the Republic until now, and what you are implementing in your policies. In truth, marriage and raising children, in your ideology, are nothing more than "rights" that justify the modification of natural concepts in order to adapt to individual practices. But this individualistic vision that you place above all else is to the detriment of a truly socialist concept of our country. Through your reform, the family is no longer in the service of the nation, it is no longer the nation of tomorrow; it is the expression of individual rights and is subject to the forms that each person chooses.
Of course, we have always been aware of the life styles of some people. If we found them strange, we did not question their freedom. But what an absurd idea to try to group them under the name of the family: filiation is not a poker game where the one who cheats best wins! At the official website, I see that the law passed by your parliament reproduces the same identical provisions as the preceding law on the Medal of the Family. Will you decorate them when they have purchased a sufficient number of children on these new slave markets that already exist in certain foreign countries? (…)
Note: She closes by saying that she is not the only one who feels this way and that other women will soon return the medal they received.
Le Salon Beige readers welcomed her decision enthusiastically.