On Wednesday, 20 April, the magnificent French-American Memorial outside Paris was rededicated. Thanks to the USAF-Europe Public Affairs office we have a few details and some great photos of the event.
|F-22 Raptors Flying-Over the Ceremony
Excerpts from Report by Captain Lauren Ott, USAF
U.S. and French military and civic leaders attended the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial event in Marnes-la-Couquette, France, today, to commemorate the centennial of the flying squadron's formation. . . The memorial celebrates not only the 38 original pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille, but all 269 American pilots who flew with the French Air Force as part of the larger Lafayette Flying Corps, 68 of whom were killed during the war and are interred at the memorial crypt. . . Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James, remarked that, "We also honor all French and American citizens who have devoted their life to protecting our shared ideals. These valiant Airmen laid the foundation for an American Air Force that will forever stand with France."
|U.S. Air Force Color Guard
During the ceremony, U.S. Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, along with French Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance, Mr. Jean-Marc Todeschini, addressed those gathered for the memorial event. . . In speaking of the significance of the Lafayette Escadrille's formation, Lt. Gen. Timothy Ray, 3rd Air Force Commander, commented, "I'm reminded, of course, of the great relationship between the French and the American people. We had a tremendous alliance. They were a huge part of our nation and its birth, and we were a huge contribution to helping them in the First World War."
|B-52 Cruising Over Paris Before Its Fly-Over
Patrick Gregory at Centenary News has an excellent article on the Lafayette Escadrille and the importance of the memorial.
In our next monthly St. Mihiel Trip-Wire we will include eye-witness accounts from some of the participants in the re-dedication ceremony, plus an account of my upcoming visit with my Verdun battlefield tour group to the Escadrille's airfield south of Verdun, where they were deployed during the famous battle.
|French and International Color Guard at the Ceremony