Monday, November 12, 2007

Lest We Forget

This photo by AP photographer Marco Chown Oved brought back a lot of memories.

Several years ago Hub and I were en route to Paris from London on the Eurostar, cruising along somewhere around 186 mph. Most of what could be seen was a blur but occasionally we'd slow enough to get a glimpse of the French countryside. In village after village this is what I saw. Battlefield cemeteries. Some quite large, others with perhaps no more than a dozen markers. And the flags. That's what I remember most. The French and American flags. Most every cemetery had them.

It sent chills through me. I can still feel them as I remember. I wrote a post yesterday wondering where the flags were, honoring our veterans. Maybe they're in France and Belgium and dozens of other places throughout Europe. Honoring the American GIs where they fell.

We won't see them in Iraq nor Afghanistan in my lifetime. If ever. The difference being the premise of the wars. The men and women who fight them, however, do not differ. They fight for us, our principles, good or bad. It is what they do. The very least we can do in return is to make sure those principles are worthy.

It's funny what strikes you as memorable when you travel. Aside from the expected, in Paris, I was most taken with the carousels that seemed to be around every corner - and a young man. It was spring break and a lot of American students were visiting. It was in the courtyard outside the Louvre. Waiting in line at a street vendor's cart, he called to a companion some distance away, "How do you say hot dog in French?"

"Hot dog!" came the reply. I laughed out loud.

He was probably about the same age as many of those at rest beneath the flags. I can only hope he's not waiting for one in Iraq or Afghanistan.

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