November 12, Annual Bronzeville Veterans Day Parade
November 12, 2018, on Veterans Day and to commemorate the Centennial of the end of WWI, Deputy Consul General of France Frédéric Cholé took part in the 92nd Bronzeville Veterans Day Parade in the historic South Side of Chicago. This annual event recognizes the veterans of all wars and especially all African American soldiers of the 370th Infantry Regiment who fought alongside the French Army during WWI.
Bands, ROTC units from several local schools, public officials, veterans, veterans organizations, as well as a group of students of the Lycée Léonard de Vinci de Soissons, France, marched along Martin Luther King Drive from 43rd Street to 35th Street near the Victory Monument. The groups then gathered at the Chicago Military Academy, the former home of the 8th Regiment.
"I am here to express the gratitude of the entire French nation to the brave American men and women who helped us regain our freedom after four years of war" said Cholé, who also emphasized the importance in passing along history to the next generation "we must continue to learn from the lessons of the past, and keep the memory of our common history alive for generations to come."
The Victory Monument was created by French-born sculptor Leonard Crunelle. The monument was erected in 1928 to honor the Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard, the "Fighting Eighth". The names of 137 members of the 8th Infantry, Illinois National Guard, who lost their lives during World War I, are inscribed on a bronze panel. The Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard was reorganized as the 370th U.S. Infantry of the 93rd Division, and this regiment saw service on WWI major battlefields. It was the last regiment pursuing the retreating German forces in the Aisne-Marne region of France, just before the November 11, 1918 Armistice.