Once there was a man. A man and his life’s journey. A life’s journey never told, full with pain and with unshared memories. Leaving all behind? Thoughts. Hesitations. One more drink than … ´Adieu vieille Europe, que le diable t’emporte!`
And then, a step. A small step, done without regrets. Suddenly a voice: ´Coiffez vos Képi Blanc`. And it’s done, (…we are brothers in arms, now.) A man’s new history, his new life begins with these words “Legionnaire, you are a volunteer serving France with honour and fidelity.”
In the 1980s, the Foreign Legion leaders came to the astounding conclusion that there is a lack of moral principles in particular for the young candidates. The staff around General Coullon (Commandement de la Légion étrangère) immediately set to work to change that at his behest. The result was the publication of the Legionnaire’s Code of Honour, the ´Code d’honneur du legionnaire`, which includes seven articles.
This code was not only intended for the conduct of elite soldiers in action, but it should cover all areas, even the most common: the honourable behaviour in daily life, the camaraderie and mutual tolerance, the modesty of the legionnaire (very important) and his elegant appearance in public.
And of course, he should be a guide in combat, in sharp action.
They wanted to achieve that the legionnaires are worthy of theirs great predecessors … Anciens … at any time.
As a former legionnaire, I am happy to note that the idea of the COMLE and its implementation have proven themselves to the highest degree. The code of honour is a guarantor “par excellence” for the almost unbeatable … Ésprit Légionnaire … of the French Foreign Legion. The high “value of the job” was thus not only consolidated, he was even poured into concrete, so unconditionally he is followed by the legionnaires. The image of the Legion outward, towards the public, has never been better since the establishment of the Code of Honour.
The Code of Honour
1 – Legionnaire, you are a volunteer, serving France with honour and fidelity.
2 – Each legionnaire is your brother in arms, whatever his nationality, his race or his religion might be. You will demonstrate this by the strict solidarity which must always links members of the same family.
3 – Respect for traditions, devotion to your leaders, discipline and comradeship are your strengths, courage and loyalty your virtues.
4 – Proud of your status as Legionnaire, you display this in your always impeccable uniform, your always dignified but modest behaviour, and your clean living quarters.
5 – An elite soldier, you train rigorously, you will maintain your weapon as your most precious possession and you take constant care of your physical form.
6 – The mission is sacred, you carry it out until the end and, if necessary in the field, at the risk of your life.
7 – In combat, you act without passion and without hate, you will respect defeated enemies, and you never abandon your dead, your wounded, nor surrender your arms.
Vive la Légion
Vive les PARAS