French Foreign Legion on parade on France’s National Day

French Foreign Legion on parade on France’s National Day.

The French National Day – Fête Nationale – known as Bastille Day, is celebrated annually on 14 July. The holiday is celebrated with parades, an aerial flyover, and fireworks. 

One of the groups marching in the parade included representatives of the French Foreign Legion – Légion étrangère.

The Foreign Legion is a corps of the French Army that includes infantry, cavalry, engineers, and airborne troops comprising uniquely of foreign nationals from a range of countries. 

It was established in 1831 during the army’s activities in Africa to train foreign recruits willing to serve in the French Armed Forces. There are about 9,000 foreigners, called legionnaires, serving in the Foreign Legion. 

Those who serve for more than three years can apply for French citizenship. Those who are wounded serving France can immediately apply for citizenship due to the provision known as:

‘French by spilled blood’ – ‘Français par le sang versé.’

Their logo is a gold grenade and their insignia flag is red and green – diagonally top left to bottom right (red on the top half and green on the bottom half) – with the gold grenade in the centre. 

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