My great grandfather was an American Solider in World War II. I grew up knowing that he fought during the Second World War however he never talked about it and neither did anyone else in my family. I took the class Women in World War II at Washburn University to learn more about the war and hoping for a different perspective than the traditional history approach. Once I was in the class I realized that it was analyzing women from America and France in World War II. Not knowing any French or French History this class was a little bit of a struggle. At the end of the year our professor told us about an opportunity to go to Paris, France for an International Mass Media Conference. I wanted to go to Paris to see what I had been studying for the last semester. I had seen a number of World War II memorial sites through out America, including a week long trip to Washington D.C., but now I wanted to see the memorial sites in Paris. I traveled to Paris over Spring Break 2012 to attend the International Mass Media Seminar and had the opportunity to visit a handful of historical sites in Paris. Out of all of the historical sites, the one that impacted me the most was the way that Paris honored the war. Every day at 6 o’clock pm Parisian and American veterans along with family members join outside of the Arc de Triomphe to honor those who have lost their life due to World War II. The Arc De Triomphe is pronounced Triumphal Arch in English. It was built to honor those who fought and died for France. Under the vault is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. It now eternally burns in memory of the dead who were never identified and is now used to honor those in both world wars. During this daily ceremony American soldiers are also remembered and honored as demonstrated by the American Flag being carried. I was amazed at how they took to time to remember the war every day. In America we often take for granted the lives that were lost in World War II. I have forgotten to respect the sacrifice that my grandfather was willing to make. My trip to Paris has taught me to remember to respect grandpa.
Group of Washburn Students with Dr. Courtney Sullivan in front of the Arc de Triomphe.
The Arc de Triomphe is where the eternal flame burns. This is where the ceremony takes place daily.
Veterans and family members gather close to the Arc de Triomphe to honor soldiers who have fought in World War II.
During the ceremony the family and veterans stand around the flame and place flowers in memory of those whom have died.
As the ceremony is being performed, veterans stand in the back and hold French and American flags.