SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I, 52nd Fighter Wing Honor Guard members from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, participated in a Bastille Day ceremony in Metz, France, July 13, 2018.
The Honor Guard detail marched with French military members at their ceremony to honor the heroism, selfless service and sacrifice of Americans who came to Europe to fight for peace and liberty during World War I.
In total, over 4 million U.S. men and women served in the war and more than 116,000 lost their lives.
"To physically be present and see what this event is all about, it's completely different than just reading or hearing about it," said Senior Airman Dominique Reyes, 52nd FW base Honor Guard member. "It makes me feel that we're important and helps me understand what we're commemorating."
Reyes, and four other Spangdahlem Air Base Honor guardsmen performed a presenting of the Colors in Metz' city center while holding the American, French and U.S. Air Force flags.
"While I love being a part of change of commands and other on-base ceremonies, my favorite is being off-base where we get to meet the local nationals," said Senior Airman Robert Day, 52nd FW base Honor Guard member.
Approximately 1,000 spectators and six military units from the northeast region of France attended the event. Following the ceremony, participants and audience members took pictures and spoke with the Honor Guard.
"It's an honor to have the guardsmen by our side during the event," said Capt. Aurelie, French army public affairs officer. "I think the French people are really excited for having the opportunity to meet them."
Although the 100-year mark of the U.S entry into WWI began April 6, 2017, the U.S. plans to continue participating in ceremonies through November 2019, with the commemoration of the Treaty of Versailles.