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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 August, 2004, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Ceremony recalls Paris liberation
President Jacques Chirac (centre) with archbishops
Chirac was joined by clerics from France, the US, UK and Germany
Ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Paris from Nazi rule have continued with Mass at the city's Notre Dame Cathedral.

The non-denominational ceremony marked the service attended by wartime General Charles de Gaulle a day after his troops entered Paris on 25 August 1944.

French President Jacques Chirac laid a wreath at de Gaulle's statue before attending the Notre Dame service.

The main anniversary events held on Wednesday included parades and balls.

The liberation of Paris came less than three months after the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy.

We paid a heavy price in suffering, humiliation and destroyed morale
Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger,
Archbishop of Paris

French sacrifice

It was a hugely symbolic event after four years of collaboration with the Nazis.

But Parisians paid a heavy price for their 10-day uprising against the Germans. More than 1,000 civilians - including members of the French Resistance - were killed.

The arrival of de Gaulle's 2nd Armoured Division, the first to enter the city, secured the Nazi surrender, but German snipers were still on the rooftops as the general marched to the cathedral for Mass.

Veterans from that division were in the cathedral on Thursday for the ceremony, which was also attended by the archbishops of Berlin, Washington and Westminster as a symbol of healing.

The Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, spoke of the pain of four years of occupation by the Nazis.

General Charles de Gaulle leads the victory parade
"We paid a heavy price in suffering, humiliation and destroyed morale," he said. "But the joy of freedom and restored honour were even greater."

Among the symbolic anniversary events on Wednesday was the raising of the French tricolour on the Eiffel Tower - a re-enactment of the action of six firefighters who secretly climbed the tower's steps to raise a home-made flag in 1944.

On Thursday, the tolling of Notre Dame's bells was another act of remembrance.

Church bells in Paris had remained silent throughout the occupation, until Notre Dame's bells rang out, signalling that the city was liberated.




SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Paris marks liberation
25 Aug 04  |  In Pictures
In pictures: Liberation of Paris
23 Aug 04  |  In Pictures
European press review
25 Aug 04  |  Europe


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