Friday, July 14, 2017

Bastille Day 2017: Un Américain À Paris

For the French, this year's Bastille Day has an additional poignancy as the first anniversary of one of the deadliest radical Islamist terror attacks of the past few years.
The national holiday marks the storming on July 14, 1789, of the Bastille. The taking of the Bastille was a catalyst for the French Revolution. Since 1880, the signal event of Bastille Day has been the military parade down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.  This year America is the national guest of honor and the parade will be led for the first time by US troops.
According to Robert Sisk at Military.com, “About 200 troops from US European Command will have the honor of leading the parade to mark the centennial of the US entry into World War I in 1917. The US Air Force Thunderbirds and an F-22 Raptor will also conduct a flyover of the parade.
"France stood with us during the American Revolution, and that strategic partnership endures today," Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, EuCom commander and NATO supreme commander, said in a statement.
"On behalf of the 60,000 service members standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the French to ensure Europe is whole, free and at peace, we are honored to lead the Bastille Day Parade and help celebrate French independence," he said.
"During the centennial of America's entry into World War I, we commemorate America's sons and daughters who defended peace─many of them descendants of European immigrants who came to America seeking freedom, opportunity and a better life," Scaparrotti said.
"Amidst the horrors of war, over four million Americans served in World War I and more than 100,000 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice," he said.
The troops participating in the parade will include soldiers from the Army's 1st Infantry Division, which was the first unit to enter France in World War I.  Other units participating will be the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade; the Army's 10th Mountain Division; US Army Europe's 7th Army Training Command; sailors from US Naval Forces Europe; airmen from US Air Forces Europe; and Marines from U.S. Marine Forces Europe.

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