Paris celebrates the 75th anniversary of its liberation. On the 25th August 1944, after an uprising of the French Resistance the previous days and a first entering in the evening of the 24th by elements of the French 2nd Armored Division, troops of General Leclerc entered Paris by the “Porte d’Orléans”. In the east of Paris, the American 4th Infantry Division entered through the “Porte d’Italie”. After a few fights, surrender is signed and Paris is free, after an occupation of four years. To commemorate these events, several ceremonies were held through the city as well as a big parade that started from the “Porte d’Orléans”.
For the occasion, UNIVEM brought a lot of vehicles. Our Sherman was there, in the markins of the “Romilly”, the first tank to enter Paris in August 1944. Other vehicles were of course there: the three Half-Tracks, the International H542, the Ward-La-France M1A1, the Scout-Car, the GMC CCKW dumper and cargo, the Dodge WC 51, 56 and 58, and of course the Jeep in the markings of the French 2nd Armored Division! Jeeps from association’s members completed the convoy that left Satory at 8:00 to be at “Portes d’Orléans” at 9:00, next to the memorial that honors General Leclerc.
A few moments later, other vehicles from several other associations came, forming an impressive column. Another Sherman was also there. It was nice to do a group photo with ours!
In the afternoon, there were a lot of spectators. Vehicles met great succes. From 15:00, the official ceremony began in front of the General Leclerc Statue.
Then, the parade began, heading to Denfert-Rochereau. Our Half-Track “Madrid” was the first in the column, carrying an orchestra. The tanks are following and then the rest of the vehicles. Our Sherman had the honor to carry two actual soldiers of the 501ème RCC (501st Combat Tank Regiment). A lot of people applaused the convoy along the road. (some nice pictures of the parade were forwarded by Harpocrate Photographie)
The parade took about half and hour to do the 1,5 kilometer between the start and the end. Some vehicles were displayed around the Lion of Denfert-Rochereau. An orchestra was installed in the trailer of our International H542.
At 18:30 a first convoy left the place. It was then time to load the Sherman on the trailer and come back to Satory. Despite the oppressive heat, some eternal memories were made this day. What an emotion it was to follow the path of the liberators, 75 years later.