Inauguration of the Memorial to French soldiers killed in overseas operations

>> [ Tribute ] Inaugurated on 11 November 2019 by the President of the Republic [ Speech ], the Memorial to French soldiers killed in overseas operations, Parc André Citroën, Paris.

[Web series] Episode 5 – Memorial to French soldiers killed in overseas operations
 

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- Articles: Les Chemins de la Mémoire - Special edition: French overseas operations: 50 years of engagement
- National day in commemoration of the armistice of 11 November 1918 and in honour of all those who died for France

In 1918, prime minister Georges Clemenceau announced the terms of the armistice with Germany to the French National Assembly. This marked the end of four years of conflict. In his speech, Clemenceau acknowledged the sacrifices and courage of the soldiers who fought at the front, and paid tribute to the nation. For veterans, that day had a powerful significance. They wanted 11 November to be made a national holiday. Over the years, this commemorative date became a national day celebrating the victory of peace.

The Law of 28 February 2012 made this date a day of remembrance of all those who have died for France. Since then, the 11 November commemorations have offered a single tribute to all the servicemen and women who have died for France, from the First World War to the present, including those killed in overseas operations, who now form part of national remembrance.  

This year, a special tribute will be paid to them, with the inauguration, in Paris, of the Memorial to French soldiers killed in overseas operations. With the families and comrades of the fallen service personnel in attendance, the French President will unveil this, the tenth Major National Remembrance Site, on Monday afternoon at 3.30 pm. The sculpture, selected through a call for projects, depicts six anonymous pall-bearers dressed in different military uniforms, bearing an invisible coffin to symbolise absence and mourning. In addition is a wall bearing the names of the members of the armed forces who died for France on overseas operations, comprised of 37 engraved plaques. For the inauguration, 549 names of service personnel killed in a total of 17 theatres of foreign operations will be inscribed.

Eagerly awaited by families, the Memorial, funded entirely by the Ministry of the Armed Forces, represents the French State’s gratitude to those killed thousands of miles from home. Set in Parc André Citroën, close to the headquarters of the Ministry of the Armed Forces, in Balard, the Memorial stands in the centre of the Eugénie Djendi public gardens. It invites passers-by to read the hundreds of names and consider the sacrifice made by our service personnel today, as well as to understand France’s ongoing military commitment. This new remembrance site, unveiled on 11 November, translates the unfaltering link between different generations of combatants over more than a century.

Two classes of high-school students from Agen and Castres will attend the inauguration ceremony. They are students of the defence and global security programmes, the result of a partnership between the Ministry of the Armed Forces and the Ministry of National Education and Youth, which aim to contribute to developing the spirit of defence, strengthening the link between the armed forces and young people, and teaching about citizenship. All the students at the ceremony have been involved in learning projects concerned with overseas operations. Some of these youngsters will read out the testimonies of service personnel deployed to the different theatres of operations, making them bearers of the memory of the servicemen and women sent on overseas operations.

Ministry of the Armed Forces/DPMA/SDMAE/BAPI (Office for Educational Actions and Information) – Text by Thomas Chevalier – Photo credit: © MINARM/ DICoD

>> Broadcasts up to 11 November  - [Web series] Episodes – Memorial to French soldiers killed in overseas operations: background to the project

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