Macron takes on military role

Emmanuel Macron “is extremely impregnated by his role as head of the armed forces,” retired General Jean-Paul Palomeros had told us a few days ago. The 8th President of the French Republic demonstrated the truth of this on several occasions today during his inauguration ceremony.

The 8th French president, Emmanuel Macron, during his investiture on 14 May 2017. Behind him stands General Pierre de Villiers, chief of staff of the armed forces (photo: Christina Mackenzie, France 2 screen shot)

First by taking his time to walk up the red carpet in the ceremonial courtyard of the Elysée Palace, the seat of the French presidency in central Paris, adjusting his steps to the beat of the military music and turning towards the musicians on his right rather than to the journalists on his left. And most significantly, and in a complete break from all his predecessors, by choosing a military vehicle rather than a civilian one to drive up the Champs Elysées to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where he revived the flame and signed the “Golden Book” in which he wrote: “I will always be at your side at the service of France and of our people.

The new president is driven up the Champs Elysées (photo: Christina Mackenzie, France 2 screen shot)

The new president revives the flame on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier (photo: Christina Mackenzie, France 2 screen shot)

Emmanuel Macron stands in the VLRA (photo: Christina Mackenzie, France 2 screen shot)

The military vehicle used by Macron was a VLRA (Light Reconnaissance and Support Vehicle) manufactured by Renault Trucks Defense in its mechanical engineering workshops at Saint-Nazaire. This vehicle is traditionally used by the President of the Republic to review the troops on 14 July, Bastille Day

The last act that clearly demonstrates the new president is very conscious of his role as chief of the armed forces was his unplanned visit this afternoon to the Percy military hospital in Clamart in the Paris region “without the press, in a very discreet way” the Elysée said, adding that the president “wished, as his first act as president, to go to the bedside of soldiers who were wounded in combat defending our nation and global freedom.” He met Sergeant Philippe Perrot, 29, of the 1st Marine Infantry Paratroop Regiment, who suffered a bullet wound on 22 July 2016 in Mali. He also met with Sergeant Kevin Emeneya, 27, of the 1st Foreign Legion Engineer Regiment, wounded on 2 July 2010 in Afghanistan by an insurgent shot. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he was naturalised on 11 March 2011 by virtue of blood spilt for the nation. He is still resident at the Invalides hospital which suggests that his wounds were extremely serious. Finally, Macron spoke to Lance Corporal Geoffrey Dhaenens, 21, of the 3rd Engineer Regiment, wounded on 27 November 2016 in Mali when his vehicle hit an IED (improvised explosive device).

The presidential motorcade drives up the Champs Elysées (photo: Christina Mackenzie, France 2 screen shot)

The VLRA drives up the Champs Elysées (photo: Christina Mackenzie, France 2 screen shot)

President Emmanuel Macron and the chief of staff of the armed forces General Pierre de Villiers at the military ceremony at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe on 14 May 2017 (photo: Christina Mackenzie, France 2 screen shot)

The military ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe on 14 May 2017 (photo: Christina Mackenzie, France 2 screen shot)