Ceremony commemorating November 11
On November 11, 1918 at 11 o’clock ended the most horrific war which humanity had known until then and which no one could imagine was the beginning of a century marked by a return to barbarism and inhumanity at the very heart of European civilization and in the world.
During the ceremony commemorating November 11, which took place in Ottawa at the National War Memorial, the Ambassadors of France and Germany – two of the European nations which suffered the greatest losses during the First World War – together laid a wreath of flowers at the monument. This act symbolizes the Franco-German reconciliation and the wish for a peaceful, united and strong Europe.
As they remember those who died for France in the First World War and the Armistice of 1918, the commemorations on November 11, 2011, also pay homage to the soldiers who gave their lives in defence of national territory and outside French soil in all the conflicts that have taken place for the control of our destiny and the defence of our values. Each in their turn, the dead of the Second World War, Indochina and North Africa were honoured in ceremonies held under the Arc de Triomphe.
With over 10,000 soldiers operating simultaneously in some twenty operations abroad, France is currently one of the most-involved countries in international crisis management operations, in the front line defending universal values.
The year 2011 has illustrated France’s will and determination to respond, through the use of UN resolutions, to the challenges posed by crises of all kinds, as was the case in Afghanistan, in Ivory Coast and in Libya.
This November 11 therefore means paying tribute to all of France’s combatants to show national recognition for their commitment and their sense of sacrifice. In order to highlight the merits of the units that particularly distinguished themselves in operational theatres, 36 of these will collectively be decorated the Croix de la valeur militaire, including 12 which will be awarded by the President of the Republic in Paris on November 11.