France celebrates 65th anniversary of World War II Victory Day

11:48, May 09, 2010      

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President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday laid a wreath in front of a statue of Charles de Gaulle to launch the 65th anniversary celebration of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon and dozens of senior political officials also attended the Victory Day ceremony that featured a rendition of The Marseilles,the French national anthem, by the state guard of honor. Many French citizens and foreign tourists were on hand as well to watch the events on Champs Elysee Avenue.

May 8, the 65th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany, was a collective memory for France and an important event linking young French to their country's history, 22 year-old student David Jeandel told Xinhua.

J. P. Viret, a 76-year-old Swiss tourist, said the war was a tragedy for all of the civilians impacted by the devastation. Viret said he didn't want to see any more world wars in the future "because it will be the end of our planet."

From the top of the Arc de Triumphe, a gigantic triple-colored French national flag was aflutter in the wind.

The Allied forces formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945, after six years of war started by Adolph Hitler with an attack on Poland in September 1939. The day is celebrated in Europe as Victory Day, or Victory Europe Day.

Because the Soviet Union announced the victory early on May 9, 1945, after the signing of the surrender pact according to its local time, Russia marks its victory day later than western Europe.

De Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:祁澍文)

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