“To accept to die so the innocent can live, that is the essence of what it means to be a soldier,” Mr. Macron said. “Others, even many who are brave, would have hesitated.”
Mr. Macron awarded Colonel Beltrame the title of Commander of the Legion of Honor, one of the highest accolades that France bestows.
Mr. Macron and Édouard Philippe, the prime minister, stood bareheaded out of respect for Colonel Beltrame, despite a chilly, steady rain, as did crowds of Parisians who lined the route the hearse took through the capital. Although most of the onlookers had not known the 44-year-old gendarme in life, they knew everything about his death.