Wednesday 6 July 2016

American Soldiers Pass Through L'Arc de Triomphe

Rows of American troops parade through the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs Elysees as crowds throng the sidewalks during the liberation of Paris. The troops were on their way to battle the retreating German Army.\

It had been over three years since Parisians fled the city...three years since they heard the approach of the German tanks...three years since their Maginot Line, seemingly indestructible, had been breached.  But on August 29, 1944, Parisians watched from the sidewalks as 15,000 American troops, accompanied by French forces marched down the Champs Elysees.  Planes, three abreast, flew overhead.  The scene was majestic.

On August 25, Charles DeGaulle's victory speech at the Hotel de Ville had roused the crowd.  The following day saw a victory parade march down the Champs Elysees.  Three days later, a second parade was organized.  Tanks rolled under the Arc de Triomphe.  The tricolour flag was front and centre once again. Thousands of spectators, standing under the leafy trees that lined the boulevard, cheered.  "Vive DeGaulle!  "Vive la France!"  

U.S. Post Office stamp courtesy

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