On the day Paris was liberated from the Nazis in 1944, a young American soldier nabbed a souvenir of epic proportions: He took home the French flag that hung from the Arc de Triomphe, a symbol of the end of four years of struggle and shame.

Six and a half decades later, the aging veteran has given the flag back to the city of Paris.

Officials from Paris City Hall took possession of the 12-meter (13-yard) tricolor flag Saturday in a ceremony in southern France, a step in its unusual journey from New York state back home to Paris. The American veteran remains anonymous, too ashamed to come forward.

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