This weekend, we remember those who have given their lives so that the interests of our nation can be preserved. And by interests I don't just mean the oil reserves of other nations although I understand that our access to them is fairly crucial to the survival of life as we know it here in America, right or wrong. By interest I mean our freedom. Freedom to live, worship, try stuff, free from fear of oppression.
I am the daughter of a French mother and a Dutch father who are still grateful today for the liberation of Europe, which I understand took the strong arm of the US to achieve.
Just this morning mom told me a wartime story of her girlhood in France. She and some of her friends, all about 14 years old, were surprised by a bombing raid as they made their way to a rural train station. Quickly jumping in a ditch, the girls watched spellbound as the battle unfolded in the sky. To their dismay, several allied planes were shot down and the gunfire stopped. Resuming their trek to the station they saw a small formation of German soldiers coming out of the field, rifles trained on their prize: a captured American pilot.
Fearing for his life, the girls were made speechless as he ambled casually past, surrounded by his captors. They stood with open mouthed admiration at the sight of him, not just because he was handsome, which he was, not just because he was American, though that made him an instant hero to this gaggle of girls, prisoners in their own country, no he won their hearts because in the midst of his predicament, he casually strode past still chewing on his gum. To them, he was the image of cool, a picture of victory over the oppressor. Spontaneously, the girls erupted in fervent applause for their hero. They quickly thought better of it however when the Germans guns were turned on them. She thinks they all fell in love at once with the gum chewing American.
So first of all thank you to all the soldiers past and present, thank you to you and your families for doing what must often be a difficult, sometimes wrenching job, for protecting our ability to continue living as we do. As an immigrant, I for one, am so very grateful. Grateful that my parents, like countless others in various times and places, were liberated. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Happy Memorial Day.