Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blood Brothers




By Mark W. Danielson

Many of my topics are travel-inspired. Today’s subject is a study of various Paris monuments that pay homage to our ties with France. While current affairs may overshadow our past, it's good that there are statues to remind us that France and the United States are, and always will be, Blood Brothers.



History books gloss over the fact that the United States would not exist had Lafayette not come to our aid during the Revolutionary War. At the same time, the French would be speaking German, had it not been for the US led Allied forces twice coming to their aid. Many forget that the French gave us the Statue of Liberty to celebrate our independence. An exact replica of Liberty’s flame sits atop the tunnel near Avenue De New York, which parallels the River Seine. (As fate would have it, Lady Di’s car crashed directly beneath this monument, which has since become her eternal flame.) Statues of Eisenhower and Churchill stand near Lafayette's, which was presented to France by the "School Children of the United States of America" in recognition of Lafayette's role in our achieving independence. The bottom line is that France and the US have watched each other’s backs since the beginning, and will do so in the future.


I saw plenty of tourists stroll past the aforementioned monuments, some stopping for a photo, but few taking note of their significance. Monuments such as these are our link to the past. Without them, our history is lost. As a child, I was never a fan of history books, but seeing it first hand through battle grounds and monuments has provided me with a fascinating education.

3 comments:

Jean Henry Mead said...

The Franco-American relationship is fascinating, indeed, Mark. And to think that we once insulted our allies by calling McDonald's best "freedom fries."

Pat Browning said...

Mark,

Thanks for the great photos and timely reminder of our historic ties with France.

France always gets a bum rap in this country. I was a tourist in Paris twice during the "ugly American" hoo-haw of the 1970s and never, even once, met a Parisian who was anything but kind and courteous to me.

Maybe it was because I never once said "It's cheaper in the U.S." or "Why don't you have ____ (fill in the blank)? I can buy it at home" or something equally rude.

Or "Ha-ha-ha, what's this funny looking bowl in the bathroom?"

I came home thinking that people everywhere treat you as you treat them, and plain old good manners go a long way.

Pat

Mark W. Danielson said...

I totally agree with you, Pat. I've always found that things go well if you just treat people as you would like to be treated. Dressing like a local also helps. Most of all, remembering that you are a guest when visiting other countries nearly always wins people over.