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France shares eternal flame with US for D-Day Commemoration

todayJune 7, 2024 4

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An eternal flame that began burning in Paris more than 100 years ago made its way to the U.S. in honor of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion that became a major turning point during World War II. The “Flame of Liberty,” or the “Flamme de la Liberte” as they call it in France, is a sign of gratitude from the European ally which lit its flame on Nov. 11, 1923, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.  A single flame, protected by a white lantern and escorted by young French ambassadors, was presented to Arlington National Cemetery in time for Memorial Day.D-DAY VETERANS’ STORIES LIVE ON THROUGH AI AT THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUMThe 34 French ambassadors — most aged 23 or younger — first took the flame to share with the United Kingdom last month. They then boarded the Queen Mary II for a seven-day voyage across the North Atlantic Ocean before arriving in New York City and taking the flame to Washington, D.C.French Ambassador Laurent Bili says the flame symbolizes France’s appreciation for its allies storming Normandy on June 6, 1944.”As a way to underline the brotherhood and friendship between all soldiers during World War II,” Bili said.The storming of Normandy, also known as D-Day or Operation Overlord, was a pivotal moment in world history. “The invasion of Europe was the beginning of the liberation of Europe from Nazi control during World War II,” said Dr. Jim Ginther, lead archivist at the Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum located in Kansas. D-DAY VETERAN, 101, HEADS TO FRANCE FOR 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF NORMANDY LANDINGSGinther said there were two reasons that beach landings were always part of the allied plan in World War II. “To create a second front to divide Germany, the German war effort between two different armies. And also to take pressure off of our Russian allies,” he said.Ginther added, “it was believed at the very beginning that an invasion of Europe was going to be necessary to get to the final defeat of Germany.”Bili says the first time the “Flame of Liberty” went to the U.S. was in 1949, making this year only the second time a kindle of the eternal flame has made it to America. The French Ambassador said it was important to mark this year’s anniversary, “one of the major, last major commemorations with so many veterans.”After D-Day’s 80th anniversary ceremonies on June 6, 2024, at Arlington National Cemetery, Bili says the “Flame of Liberty” will remain lit at the French embassy until the light fades out. 

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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