France: Exit Beau Geste

At its headquarters in the Algerian city of Sidi-bel-Abbès, the French Foreign Legion last week awaited the sound of Taps. On the surface nothing was changed.

In the Legion Museum lay the wooden hand of one-armed Captain Jean Danjou, who died with 39 other Legionnaires in a last-ditch stand against 2,000 Mexicans in 1863. In the courtyard surrounded by the pink-walled barracks stood the Monument to the Dead—a bronze terrestrial globe guarded by four bigger-than-life statues of Legionnaires. Sentries in white kepis still stood guard before the gate bearing the inscription...

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