While conventional wisdom holds that most Americans strongly dislike the French and vice versa, I’m pleased to report that at least one part of Gaul still has a soft spot for Yanks.
I’m in the midst of a brief, but incredibly enjoyable, tour of Normandy with Repman, Jr., and his buddy, Chigas.
Today, we trekked along the D-Day beaches, visited the American military cemetery, stared up at St. Mere Eglise and experienced many other incredibly cool WW II venues.
The most moving, though, was an impressive memorial to two obscure US medics who, through their courage and expertise, treated some 80 wounded GIs and German combatants along with a little French boy who’d been shot by a Wermacht soldier.
Despite an annual average income of only 12,000 Euros, all 43 local villagers ponied up 1,000 Euros each to erect a permanent monument to the empathetic GIs right outside the church where they’d saved so many lives 63 years ago.
As our tour guide said, ‘This particular section of France remains incredibly grateful to Americans for liberating them way back when. Tell your countrymen they’ll be met with open arms if they visit Normandy.’ And, from what I’ve seen so far, he’s absolutely right.
just returned from normandy and also found the citizens to be wonderful. they have not tryed to capitalize on the war but instead have treated all the sites with extreme reverence. they have left most sites untouched,including where blood wa spilled.I believe all Americans need to make the visit to Normandy…i brings everything back in focus.
Two thoughts on this issue:
1.) Having been to the Normandy region, I too felt the same warmth from the locals. It’s an incredibly moving place that went through a horrific ordeal. It’s hallowed ground that changed a whole generation of French citizens who live in that region and were given the chance to grow old in peace, which leads me to my second point.
2.) I just hope that the French citizens who lived in Normandy during the German occupation and D-Day invasion have been working diligently to pass down the stories and experiences of WWII to their children and grandchildren. The greatest tribute they can pay to the U.S. and Allied soldiers is to ensure that the next few generations feel the same way as they do and understands – despite not having lived through it – the pain, suffering and courage that the fighting forces endured. If this sentiment dies with the WWII generation, it will be a crying shame.
just a quick shout out and congrats to lunch boy and crew- minimum wage went up .70 today. so go grab yourself a cold one and celebrate! but don’t grab more than one otherwise you will blow the week’s increase…
RepMan, that’s encouraging news. Visited Provence and Nice in 2002, and was met with a very distasteful reception, despite speaking French and wearing dark, European clothes (no bright American T-shirts or sneakers). Even making reservations in my maiden name, which is French, had no effect.