Sarkozy pays tribute to de Gaulle 40 years after death


Under drizzle and grey skies, French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute to Charles de Gaulle Tuesday during a ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the general’s death. He also used the occasion to justify his controversial pensions reform.


De Gaulle was the man who led the Free French Forces against Nazi Germany during World War II, and who later served as president from 1959 to 1969.

He died in his home in the central French town of Colombey-les-Deux-Église, on 9 November, 1970 – just one year after leaving office.

After visiting de Gaulle’s grave, Sarkozy signed a guestbook at the property where the general died.

Under the famous Lorraine cross, which dominates de Gaulle’s final resting place, Sarkozy paid tribute to the “saviour” of France, describing de Gaulle’s desire to defend “the French identity”.

Using quotes to justify some of his controversial decisions in leading the country, Sarkozy said de Gaulle always advocated a stronger and more demanding France.

Although he conceded that "no one can know what he would do today".

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