The French newspapers, in reporting news of America’s ongoing guerre des statues, offered this tidbit from the United States last week: “le maire de New York veut retirer une plaque commémorative de Pétain.” This item, indicating that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio would remove a plaque commemorating the “collaborateur nazi,” Philippe Pétain, puzzled the French. Where, when, and why had New York commemorated the chief of state of Vichy France? Pétain, it turns out, had been honored in one of Lower Manhattan’s 206 ticker-tape parades years before he collaborated with the Nazi regime, when he was still regarded as an unambiguous French hero for his deeds in the First World War. Removing his plaque, as the mayor will soon do, will erase a piece of New York’s quirky history.
New York first held a parade in Canyon of Heroes in 1886, for the Statue of Liberty. Three years later, New Yorkers celebrated the centennial of George Washington’s presidency. The first person to show up in person for his own parade was Admiral George Dewey, the hero of Manila during the Spanish-American War in 1899. After an 11-year gap, former president Theodore Roosevelt got the parade treatment after his return from an African safari.
Source: for MORE