101633 | FRANCE. Liberation of Paris bronze Award Medal.

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    101633  |  FRANCE. Liberation of Paris bronze Award Medal. Issued and engraved 1944 to Guy Genermont (68mm, 159.58 g, 12h). By L. Bazor at the Paris mint.

     

    Plain clothes soldier standing facing, head left, holding up rifle and pistol to head; ravaged cityscape in background, with shell casing, tank, truck, and overturned tractor / LIBERATION DE PARIS / JOURNEES / DU 19 AU 26 AOUT, cross of Lorraine on central band between two laurel branches; engraved in three lines below, "AU CHEF AMBULANCIER / GENERMONT GUY / EN SOUVENIR DE CES HEURES." Edge: «cornucopia» BRONZE.

     

    Choice About Uncirculated. Deep brown surfaces, with some light rub upon the high points.

     

    VE Day, or Victory in Europe Day, had traditionally been a holiday marking the surrender of Germany to allied forces on 8 May 1945. As such, the 8th of May was a bank holiday in France from 1953 through 1959, at which point it was demoted simply to a commemoration. In 1975, then president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing removed the tradition altogether, choosing instead to honor the following day in the calendar, which marked the 25th anniversary of the calling for friendship with Germany and a European Union. Among those who had served in World War II, and especially during the liberation of Paris, this backpedaling away from a holiday or even mere recognition was a step too far. In 1980, Guy Generment (the recipient of this medal and president of an association for decorated servicepeople), announced to the French cabinet that "...the decorated veterans saw around 400,000 of their comrades killed and awarded medals posthumously, and they don’t think that dedicating one day a year to them is over the top.” Following the election of François Mitterrand as president, the original holiday was brought back the next year in 1981.