Historical Dictionary



In response to the 2004 request of several associations representing veterans of the Indochina War, the French government approved by decree on 26 May 2005 the creation of an official memorial day for the Indochina War (journée du souvenir de la Guerre d’Indochine). The associations selected 8 June, for it corresponds to the day in 1980 when the remains of the “unknown soldier of Indochina” (soldat inconnu d’Indochine) were interred in the national necropolis of Notre-Dame de Lorette in the department of Pas-de-Calais. Notre-Dame de Lorette is home to the French National Military Cemetery, site of a major battle of World War I, and the final resting place of the unknown soldiers of that war, World War II, and the Algerian War. On 8 June 2005, Michèle Alliot-Marie, then minister of Defense, and Hamlaoui Mekachera, then deputy minister of Veteran Affairs, attended the first commemoration of the Indochina Memorial Day. On that day, Mme Alliot-Marie addressed the coffin containing the remains of the unknown soldier of the Indochina War. She said: “Through him, it is the totality of his comrades to whom we pay tribute today”. This unknown soldier had “fallen” during the battle of Dien Bien Phu. His remains were discovered in Vietnam in December 2004 and were later inhumed at the necropolis in Fréjus, where the official ceremony for Indochina Memorial Day is now held. The life of the dead carries on. See also ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ANCIENS D’INDOCHINE ET DU SOUVENIR INDOCHINOIS; ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ANCIENS PRISONNIERS ET INTERNÉS D’INDOCHINE; ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES COMBATTANTS DE DIEN BIEN PHU; ASSOCIATION OF MOTHERS OF SOLDIERS; BOUDAREL AFFAIR; CEMETERY; EXPERIENCE OF WAR; EXPERIENCE OF WAR, DIEN BIEN PHU; MARTYRS; MYTH OF WAR; WAR MEMORIAL, DIEN BIEN PHU.