Hollande Honors Fallen Soldier at Alpine Military Base

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Hollande during the ceremony for Franck Bouzet, French Soldier killed in Afghanistan REUTERS/ROBERT PRATTA

Saturday morning, President François Hollande visited the Varces military base at the foot of the Alps to speak at the military funeral of a soldier killed in Afghanistan last Monday, August 6. Major Franck Bouzet, who died during an operation in the Kapisa province of Afghanistan, was the 88th French soldier to lose his life in the war in Afghanistan.

Bouzet belonged to the 7th battalion of the Chausseurs Alpins, a branch of the French military whose base is in the Alps. According to the chief of the regiment, Alain Didier, Bouzet was “respected by his peers and adored by his men.” He added, “Two families in particular have been touched [by this event], that of major Bouzet and that of the Chausseurs Alpins.”

Hollande spoke, addressing the fallen soldier, “Major Franck Bouzet, you have chosen to make of your life a commitment to France.” He added, “All over, in these theaters of operation, where France defends the idea that she has made of herself, your superiors have lauded your great human and professional qualities, your bravery, your serenity that you keep under all circumstances. Throughout everything, you gave the impression of not being conscious of your excellent and beautiful virtues.” Hollande assured Bouzet’s wife and three children, “Franck Bouzet will remain an example: that of a man, who, in the name of an ideal, sacrifices his own existence.”

Hollande’s speech also contained a reaffirmation of his promise to remove troops from Afghanistan, with goals of 650 soldiers by the end of August and another 2000 by the end of the year. He reminded the public of the true object of France’s troops in Afghanistan: to leave the nation in a state stable enough to govern itself peacefully.

Finally, he recalled France’s desire to act under the mandate of the United Nations, a comment that evoked not only the war in Afghanistan but also that in Syria. He stated, “France fights in the name of principles… Our soldiers fight for peace, stability, the rights of man, and each time, under the mandate of the United Nations.”

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