Friday, July 14, 2017

C’est la Fête

I have always had a weakness for pomp and circumstance and military parades, although I have attended few such events in person. An exception was the 1994 farewell of Allied troops from Berlin, a moving occasion indeed. Another was twenty years later when I watched the parade to celebrate the 43rd UAE National Day from my office window overlooking the Corniche.

In 1979 the route of the parade on the Quatorze Juillet was from Place de La République to Place de la Bastille, and  I watched many of the military contingents disperse afterwards along the boulevard from the balcony of my flat. But mostly I followed the Bastille Day pageant on television.

To mark the centennial of the outbreak of the First World War, the 1979 parade started with a performance of classic French patriotic songs La Madelon and Chant du départ, sung a cappella by the French Army Chorus during the pre-parade segment. That was pretty memorable.

Year in, year out the slow march of the troops of the Foreign Legion is a highlight.

This year marked the centenary of the Americans entry into the Great War in 1917. It was the perfect pretext for an invitation to the new man in Washington, who appears to have behaved himself as well as can be expected. Closing the event the French military band broke from tradition, dropping martial music for a rendition of Get Lucky by French electro superstars Daft Punk.

Get Lucky, Macron, and stay lucky!

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