Ceremony honors American airmen who fought for France in WWI

AP News
Posted: Apr 20, 2016 5:51 AM

MARNES-LA-COQUETTE, France (AP) — A ceremony outside of Paris is honoring the lives of the American pilots who volunteered to fight for France during World War I.

The commemoration, which is due to include a fly-by featuring French fighter jets, an American bomber and a biplane, marks the centenary of the formation of the Lafayette Escadrille on April 20, 1916 — almost a full year before the U.S. entered the war.

The unit, also known as the Lafayette Flying Corps, was named after the 18th-century French general who played a key role in the American Revolution.

Of the nearly 180 pilots who served for France, 68 were killed before the end of the war. Their names are recorded on an arch in Marnes-la-Coquette , outside of Paris, where Wednesday's ceremony is taking place.