LYON, France -- On a damp, cold November day in Lyon, France, a French Military Veteran who has seen generations come and go, looks across the field and sees a U.S. Soldier who's barely seen life beyond basic training. Today they stand on common ground.
A century ago, U.S. forces marched onto the battlefields of World War I and fought shoulder to shoulder with allied forces for two years. Nov. 11 marks the 99th anniversary of Armistice Day -- the day battle-weary Soldiers laid down their arms and the curtain of conflict came to a close.
The formations of former and current service members along with local citizens and city officials from Lyon commemorated these historic moments during a Remembrance Day ceremony, Nov. 11 in Lyon, France.
The U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus played alongside the French Musique de l'Artillerie as the 110th Military Police Company stood proudly holding the colors. This is the first time the city of Lyon has had a U.S. military contingent participate in the ceremony to honor those in whose footsteps of service they follow and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"It was one of the highlights of my posting thus far to assist in bringing our Soldiers to Lyon," said Rebecca Kimbrell, U.S. consul to Lyon. "The French value our enduring alliance, and it is very important to them to commemorate our contributions in both World Wars. Participating in the ceremony with our Soldiers, and hearing our anthem played by Musique de l'Artillerie made me very proud, and our Lyonnaise partners, civilian and military, were so honored to have their participation at this event. It was a symbolic day, and I am grateful to all those who made it possible."
Gen. Pierre Chavancy, Military Governor to Lyon and Commander of Forces in southeast France, spoke at the event. He reminded attendees that gaining the initial victory was just the beginning of the troop's sacrifice.
"The U.S. presence here today in Lyon makes sense because today we celebrate the entrance of U.S. forces here in Europe during World War I, which was, of course, key for the victory," he said. "Unfortunately, many forget that after gaining the victory, after securing liberty, we had to defend it. That's why the first World War wasn't the last."
The partnerships forged in a war a hundred years ago endure today as U.S. joint forces in Europe remain steadfast in their commitment to European allies and partners.
"...That's why I think [it's] much more than a special relationship, we really have a common destiny between the U.S. and France," Chavancy said.
Capt. Allejandro Carreon, commander of the 110th Military Police Company, a regionally allocated force from Ft. Carson, Colorado, assigned to the 18th Military Police Brigade said this was a great opportunity to teach and mentor his Soldiers about the unique partnership with our partners and allies.
"I greatly enjoyed it and I know my Soldiers did," Carreon, said. "We had the chance to visit the memorial and speak with Soldiers and historians. This will have a big impact on our young Soldiers, our future leaders, who may find themselves in future conflict."