July 14, 2014 – Wishing the People of France a Happy Bastille Day!

I am a student of history.  History tells the story of people.  If you read history, you will learn something, or be reminded of something.  You will find how the pieces of the puzzle of human and national relations fit, and you will understand the present.

At the very least you will never be bored.

Bastille Day Fireworks over the Pont Alexandre III, Paris
My father loved France.  I studied the French language.  I was 2/3 of the way to being fluent.  I am a little out of practice now.  But my French served me well when I visited Paris and loved nearly every minute of it.

My studies in history have made me aware of something that is not generally known nowadays:

P. O’Brien – The Battle of the Chesapeake

If it were not for the intervention of France, the fledgling United States of America might never have been able to survive its war with England.  France recognized the United States in 1778, and sent troops, munitions and naval forces to assist in the fight.  In Europe, France formed alliances with the Netherlands and Spain, leaving Britain without an ally in that conflict.  French troops served under George Washington.    The French Navy fought the English at the battle of the Chesapeake under the command of Admiral DeGrasse, an action that directly led to the English surrender at Yorktown. 

Charles E. Stanton, an aide of General John (‘Black Jack’) Pershing, upon landing in France during World War I, gave this speech at the tomb of Lafayette at the cemetery of Picpus in Paris:

“America has joined forces with the Allied Powers, and what we have of blood and treasure are yours. Therefore it is that with loving pride we drape the colors in tribute of respect to this citizen of your great republic. And here and now, in the presence of the illustrious dead, we pledge our hearts and our honor in carrying this war to a successful issue. Lafayette, we are here.”

I wish the citizens of France a splendid Bastille day, and years of prosperity and peace.

Vive la France!

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