Bastille Day parade celebrates France-US links

Speaking after today’s traditional 14 juillet parade on the Champs-Elysées President Macron paid homage to America on the occasion of US President Donald Trump’s visit.

14 July 2017
By Oliver Rowland

Marking 100 years since the USA joined the First World War, Mr Macron said: “We found allies on whom we could depend, who came to our rescue. The United States of America was among them. Nothing will ever separate us.”

He added: “On this July 14, we celebrate France and that which unites us, this absolute taste for independence, which we call liberty, this ambition to give each person their chance, which we call equality, this determination to leave no one on the side of the road, which we call fraternity.

 “French history did not start on July 14, 1789, but on that day the people showed what ideals they wanted to follow.”

He also paid homage to the “soldiers, police, firefighters, customs officers – all those who protect us,” before wishing everyone “a serene and joyful Fête Nationale”.

Mr Trump and his wife Melania joined Mr and Mrs Macron as guests of honour to watch the parade during which both the French and US national anthemns were played and both nations’ flags were unfurled on the Place de la Concorde.

Mr Trump is the first US president to attend since George Bush, in 1989 on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Revolution.

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A military band also made a formation to spell the word ‘Nice’ and played the city’s anthem, in a mark of respect following the terrorist attack one year ago. Mr Macron is now jetting down to the Riviera to join the events there.

In a context of continuing security concerns, today’s events in Paris were being watched over by some 11,000 security forces.

The traditional parade has seen hundreds of service people taking part, both French and American, and many different military vehicles and aircraft – including modern 60-ton Leclerc tanks, and a Schneider tank from the First World War.

As usual the Patrouille de France air team took part, in their Alphajets, along with Rafales and Mirages – followed by the American Thunderbirds team in F-16s.

Mr Macron’s decision to make a speech today broke with the tradition in recent years by which the president instead answers questions from the press on July 14.

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