On 21 July 1906 Alfred Dreyfus stood again at attention in a courtyard of the Ecole Militaire, just as he had done nearly twelve years before while undergoing the degrading ritual of exclusion from the army. Once more, soldiers in parade dress lined the courtyard while again the bugle and drum marked the stages of a solemn rite. Upon this occasion, however, instead of ‘Death to the traitor!’ and ‘Down with the Jews!’ a small group of spectators shouted ‘Long live the Republic! Long live Dreyfus!’ while Dreyfus was knighted a member of the Legion of Honour. ‘My mind, disorientated, returned to memories of twelve years’, he later wrote, ‘the way the mob howled, the terrible ceremony, my stripes torn unjustly from my uniform, my sword broken and lying in pieces at my feet.’ The presiding general dubbed Dreyfus three times on the shoulders with his sword, then embraced the overwhelmed chevalier. Unlike the first ceremony, Lucie Dreyfus looked on from a window, and after the soldiers had filed out she greeted her newly elevated husband, who forgot himself to the extent of kissing her before the surrounding well-wishers. Mathieu stood by, and Picquart, too, was there, warmly shaking Dreyfus’s hand.
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Martin P. Johnson
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