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Friday
Jul142017

President Trump and first lady to join Bastille Day celebrations

Chesnot/Getty Images(PARIS) -- President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will join French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte as guests of honor at France’s Bastille Day celebrations Friday, which includes a military parade along the Champs-Elysees.

The two presidents are expected to sit together in a reviewing stand at the parade.

“So I was asked to go by the President, who I get along with very well ... And he called me, he said, would you come, it’s Bastille Day -- 100 years since World War 1,” said Trump to reporters on Air Force One Thursday. “And I said, that’s [a] big deal, 100 years since World War I. So we’re going to go, I think we’re going to have a great time.”

The president and first lady will participate in the annual Bastille Day ceremonies, according to the White House’s official blog. The ceremonies will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of American troops onto French soil during World War 1.

“I think it is both a symbol and very important that a president of the United States could be with us tomorrow on the occasion of our national day, and attend a military parade in which the American troops will take part,” Macron said during a joint press conference Thursday.

The president and first lady will be joined in the ceremony by nearly 200 American service members, including troops from the U.S. Army’s First Infantry Division as well as three heroic U.S. veterans of the Normandy invasion, and French military personnel. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and F-22 will be expected to conduct a flyover with planes from the French Air Force, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. .

Trump will the first U.S. president to have participated in the ceremonies since 1989.

“On behalf of the 60,000 service members standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the French to ensure Europe is whole, free and at peace, we are honored to lead the Bastille Day parade and help celebrate the French independence,” said Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparotti, commander of U.S. European Command in a statement.

The Trumps and Macrons visited Les Invalides, the site of Napoleon's tomb and a military museum on Thursday before both leaders conducted a joint conference on climate change, Syria, Russia and the long-standing Franco-American relationship. The first lady also visited Hopital Necker-Enfant Malades, a children’s hospital at the beginning of the trip to spend time with young patients.

Both presidents concluded their night with dinner in the Michelin star restaurant, Le Jules Verne, at the Eiffel Tower.

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