Unlike Polly Vous Francais, I did not get an engraved invitation to attend the ceremonies commemorating the 65th anniversary of D-Day with Presidents Obama and Sarkozy. (And if I may ask, Polly, what's your secret for getting on the guest list?)
But as luck would have it, I was able to catch another military commemoration last week on the Champs de Mars. I was walking along, minding my own business between two errands, when I heard the sound of a brass band playing. I followed my ears and a glimpse of plumed headgear and happened upon a ceremony honoring Gustave-Auguste Ferrié, a French military man who was a radio pioneer. Thanks to him, a transmitter was installed on top of the Eiffel Tower, allowing communications with the Russian allies during World War I. He also initiated use of mobile radio transmitters by French troops.
Although I didn't stick around for the ceremony itself, I did manage to get a gander at the aging veterans of various branches of the French military who formed the honor guard as well as these resplendent musical gentlemen.