18 June 18, 2015 - National ceremony at Mont-Valérien

Pictures of the event with secondary school students in Courbevoie (92)

2,000 youth were present - A selection of views © Exclusive report


Under a grey and low sky, stands the cross of Lorraine, dominating a flame on a bulwark of brass: we are at Mont-Valérien.


It is in this solemn place of national remembrance, where over 1,000 hostages and resistance fighters were shot by the occupying forces between 1940 and 1944, that the Appeal of 18 June 1940 is commemorated. Seventy-five years ago, General de Gaulle urged the French to refuse defeat and continue the fight against the enemy.


On the morning of June 18, 2015, the ceremony presided by Francois Hollande and several members of the government is a vibrant tribute to the Resistance and the Companions of the Liberation. A tribute to which the youth are associated.


Indeed, 2,000 young people from all over the Department came to attend the commemoration.


Sitting in the stands on either side of the esplanade and at the foot of the site, all the students were wearing a white T-shirt that read "75th anniversary of the Appeal of 18 June 1940" . First eager and voluble, the young people recovered their concentration when General de Gaulle's speech was heard, soon followed by the Chant des Partisans played by the Republican Guard band.


"The sacrifice of some meant freedom for others" a voice at the microphone said, recalling the memory of all those who fell at Mont-Valérien. 


"Do these words have a meaning for the young people present today? "


"Yes, absolutely. "approved Ms. Allo, History teacher at Alfred de Vigny middle school in Courbevoie (92) surrounded by her students,


"We work all year round on the theme "History, memory and citizenship" and the students invest a great deal, even those who may be at risk of dropping out of school. They regularly win awards in the CNRD competition.


"We also rely a lot on painting and drawing and even sculpture with the works of artist Shlomo Selinger who sculpted the Drancy memorial in particular. In fact, tomorrow we are going to present an evening entitled "Auschwitz 1945/2015 - not to be forgotten". The students wanted to illustrate the unspeakable, by ingeniously placing drawings and words on the evil.


"And of course, they take part in the rekindling of the flame, the ceremony of 8 May and 11 November at Mont-Valérien. They even formed a choir. "There is great synergy between us and the CAJ *, the DMD * as well as the person in charge of Veterans at the Courbevoie town hall and this makes it much easier to put these operations together.


"We have also entered into a partnership with the Montalembert private secondary school in Courbevoie (92) which is also part of the defence relay and plays an active role in numerous educational actions on the theme of citizenship. "Thanks to this, the students take part in educational workshops, citizen rallies... all moments that connect the memorial axis to today's army.

She concluded.



This interaction between the youth and the defence world was seen

in a most unexpectedly way at the end of the ceremony. Totally unabashed young secondary school students

suddenly breaking with Protocol wanted to have their

T-shirts autographed by General Bruno Dary! And in the face of such spontaneity and enthusiasm, the General willingly

 obliged with a smile...


*CAJ : Army Youth Commission – DMD : Departmental Military Delegate


Ministry of defence - SGA/DMPA/SDMAE/BAPI - © Report and iconographic source: Marie-Christine Caubet