25 August was a great disappointment for us. We attended the “liberation” ceremony in the great and historic city of Avignon. There was no American flag, and it was not planned to play the US national anthem but we were able to convince the protocol officer to include it in the ceremony. There were no speeches honoring the liberators, just the placing of six wreaths at the city’s war memorial by numerous dignitaries.
For several years we have asked the city to honor our WWII Marne Men with a plaque. The city has a plaque from the 1st French Army in the town hall which claims the 1st French Army liberated the city. Other sources claim the FFI liberated the city. Historically, the German 19th Army evacuated the city, and the FFI did take over the town hall the evening the Germans left, but the first allied unit to arrive in Avignon was from the 7th Infantry Regiment.
We were also surprised to see that at the war memorial there was no French flag displayed. There were, however, numerous flags from patriotic organizations present. From all appearances, Avignon was indifferent to the significance of the day. Even some local veterans and local citizens were disappointed with the ceremony. It is a shame the city missed the chance to commemorate appropriately such a significant anniversary.