Chapter 3 of
My Life as an English Teacher in France
A few weeks ago, we commemorated the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. I decided not to write a new article about that momentous day; instead, I shared two earlier articles about the history of the landings and about my first visit to Omaha Beach. Normally, that would have been the end of je parle américain‘s D-Day commemoration, but something subsequently happened at work that I need to share … Continue reading So Much More Than a Paperweight
Here in France, it’s hard to miss the commencement of the 70th-anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landings, from traffic problems all over Paris to a friend’s mobile uploads of Her Majesty’s arrival at Gare du Nord this afternoon. In the midst of all that, I want to take a quiet, solemn moment to remember the sacrifice made by so many on that day and in the weeks and months that followed to liberate France from Nazi occupation. Much has been written — and much is surely being written even as I type away here — on the significance of the day. Instead of adding to that (or possibly detracting from it), I’ll just share the words and images from my last two efforts to express the complex mix of emotions the day evokes for me. (Click the title links or the photos to access the two articles.) Continue reading “humble before their sacrifice”
Saturday, I took a day trip to Normandy. Although I’ve lived in France as an American expat for more than three years and I’ve commemorated D-Day twice on French soil, I’d never before visited the D-Day beaches. When my in-laws invited us to go to Colleville-sur-Mer to visit Omaha Beach and the American cemetery there, I heartily accepted. I’d seen photos and read accounts of the débarquement — I’d even written an article about it for this blog — but I didn’t know how moving the experience would end up being. Continue reading The Thin, Wet Line of Khaki
The United States and France have a long relationship, and like all relationships, ours has had its ups and downs. Born during our Revolution, Franco-American friendship is, of course, the complex product of our two countries’ unique histories and the moments when our paths have crossed — moments when we have shared the same struggle and the same vision of the way the world should be.
Perhaps no moment in our shared history demonstrates the strength of our friendship and common cause more so than D-Day, June 6, 1944 — when 73,000 Americans, 61,715 British, and 21,400 Canadians landed on the coast of Normandy to begin the liberation of France from Nazi occupation. That invasion, codenamed “Operation Neptune,” was the largest amphibious assault in history, and formed the spearhead of “Operation Overlord,” the military operation to liberate northern France. The D-Day invasion has been memorialized in our history books, in stories handed down from veterans to their children and their grandchildren and, of course, in our popular culture. It was not only an effort by American, British, and Canadian forces to liberate occupied France, however, but one closely coordinated with the French Resistance, whose support on the ground was indispensable to the operation’s success.
Continue reading A Day to Remember