Like most French towns, Lourdes has a memorial to honor her children who were lost in war.
Though the memorial was intended to honor the victims of the first world war, the names were later added to the memorial from the Second World War and later wars.
Lourdes was a strategic location in the sense that being so near the border with Spain it would provide a safe refuge and escape route. Therefore, there was a German Nazi presence in the region of the Haut Pyrenees. However these numbered only 9 officers and 340 non-commissioned troops. These were primarily border and customs oriented, though there was a gestapo post at Argeles Gazost. There were, however, significant German garrisons at Toulouse, Tarbes, and Bayonne. The price paid in lives was relatively light. Some 205 resistance fighters died in operations in the department, and some 527 civilians were deported or interned.
It is 150 years since the apparitions, and Lourdes are celebrating the event. So it should be a good year for a visit. Many of the places of interest have received a face-lift, and the little town is even more welcoming than usual.
As you pass back along the side of the cathedral, after you've visited the grotto, be sure and fill a small plastic jug or two with water from the springs here. This is where Bernadette was instructed by the Virgin Mary to dig, on a spot where no water had previously existed, and voila! so she located the holy springs. Folks believe this water has great curative powers. It tastes like well water, but anything that helps these days, eh?