Americans to Lead Bastille Day Parade in Paris


A historic first, nearly 200 American service members will lead the military parade on Bastille Day, July 14, along the famous Champs-Elysées in Paris in commemoration of the U.S. entry into World War I.

The U.S. formation marching in the military parade on Bastille Day in Paris, France, July 14, 2017, is reviewed as part of the final rehearsal in Satory, France, July 12, 2017. This year, the U.S. will lead the parade as the country of honor in commemoration of the centennial of U.S. entry into World War I – as well as the long-standing partnership between France and the U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb
The U.S. formation marching in the military parade on Bastille Day in Paris, France, July 14, 2017, is reviewed as part of the final rehearsal in Satory, France, July 12, 2017. This year, the U.S. will lead the parade as the country of honor in commemoration of the centennial of U.S. entry into World War I – as well as the long-standing partnership between France and the U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb
The U.S. formation marching in the military parade on Bastille Day in Paris, France, July 14, 2017, is reviewed as part of the final rehearsal in Satory, France, July 12, 2017. This year, the U.S. will lead the parade as the country of honor in commemoration of the centennial of U.S. entry into World War I – as well as the long-standing partnership between France and the U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb
French and U.S. service members rehearse for the Military Parade on Bastille Day
The U.S. formation marching in the military parade on Bastille Day in Paris, France, July 14, 2017, is reviewed as part of the final rehearsal in Satory, France, July 12, 2017. This year, the U.S. will lead the parade as the country of honor in commemoration of the centennial of U.S. entry into World War I – as well as the long-standing partnership between France and the U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb

The annual French holiday marks the storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789, a turning point in the French Revolution.

Bastille Day Parade Tradition

The French government traditionally invites a country of honor to lead the parade, which is linked to a historical event and highlights a symbolic gesture of friendship.

“France stood with us during the American Revolution and that strategic partnership endures today,” said Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command. “On behalf of the 60,000 service members standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the French to ensure Europe is whole, free and at peace, we are honored to lead the Bastille Day Parade and help celebrate the French independence.”

Almost 200 U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen assigned to units in Europe and the 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kansas, march from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde during a July 12 rehearsal for the military parade on Bastille Day to be held in Paris, July 14, 2017. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officier Michael McNabb
Almost 200 U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen assigned to units in Europe and the 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kansas, march from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde during a July 12 rehearsal for the military parade on Bastille Day to be held in Paris, July 14, 2017. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officier Michael McNabb
Almost 200 U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen assigned to units in Europe and the 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kansas, march from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde during a July 12 rehearsal for the military parade on Bastille Day to be held in Paris, July 14, 2017. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officier Michael McNabb
French and U.S. service members rehearse for the Military Parade on Bastille Day
Almost 200 U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen assigned to units in Europe and the 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kansas, march from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde during a July 12 rehearsal for the military parade on Bastille Day to be held in Paris, July 14, 2017. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officier Michael McNabb

President Donald J. Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and many more dignitaries are scheduled to attend the event while more than 3,765 people participate in the parade. On July 6, 1880, the French Parliament passed an act declaring July 14 a national holiday to mark the storming of the Bastille. As part of nationwide celebrations, a traditional military parade is held.

Flyovers Slated

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and an F-22 are slated to conduct flyovers. The U.S. served as the country of honor and led the parade for the first time ever, according to the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917.

“During the centennial of America’s entry into World War I, we commemorate America’s sons and daughters who defended peace -- many of them descendants of European immigrants who came to America seeking freedom, opportunity and a better life,” Scaparrotti said. “Amidst the horrors of war, over 4 million Americans served in World War I and more than 100,000 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice.”