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Le dictionnaire

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NECROPOLIS, FRÉJUS

In 1986, the French and Vietnamese governments signed a protocol for the repatriation of the remains of French Union soldiers killed in Vietnam between 1940 and 1954. On 10 October 1986, Jacques Chirac, then prime minister, received at Roissy airport the first coffins carrying the remains of French Union Forces killed during the Indochina War. In all, some thirty thousand remains were returned over the next year or so. As a result, the French government decided to create a necropolis in Fréjus to receive, inhume, and memorialize many of these soldiers morts pour la France, as well as a select number of civilians killed during the conflict. Officials ended up selecting the southern town of Fréjus because of its colonial past, having served as the principle camp through which thousands of French troops had passed on their way to the colonies since the 19th century. Fréjus was also home to the Musée des troupes de la Marine. In 1993, socialist President François Mitterand inaugurated the National Necropolis at Fréjus. It is currently home to the remains of 17,250 soldiers of diverse nationalities of the former French Union. The remains of over 3,000 “unknown victims” rest in the crypt inside the necropolis. The memorial belongs to the French state and is administered by the state secretary to the Ministry of Defense in charge of veteran’s affairs. The local chapter of the veteran affairs in Marseille manages the site. The final addition to the necropolis was the memorial wall, Mur du souvenir. Inscribed on it are the names of the some 34,000 morts pour la France whose bodies are not held in the necropolis. This “wall of memory” was inspired by Maya Lin’s Vietnam memorial in the United States. 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; CEMETERIES; COMICS AND WAR; EXPERIENCE OF WAR; MISSING IN ACTION; MYTH OF WAR; REMAINS; WAR MEMORIAL, DIEN BIEN PHU.