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D-Day: Does Europe Remember?

I thought I would scan British and French newspapers to see what they were saying about D-Day, with its 66th anniversary today.  I looked at the on-line front pages of the Independent, Daily Telegraph, and Times (UK), and Le Monde and Le Figaro (France).  Nothing.  I'm sure there were opinion pieces, tv coverage, memorials, and so on, so at this point I just raise the question of how much Europe remembers.  Of course a European (or a Euro-oriented American) might say we Americans are obsessed with past wars.
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I'll defend Europe somewhat. For Americans, D-Day was a glorious conquest of an exotic foreign land; for the French and British D-Day was a re-taking of what had been lost. It's a distinction based on personal perspectives, visceral rather than rational and historical. This is especially true of the French who, from the sense of pride that we've all seen in Frenchmen, would rather forget that the war ever happened than admit that they had to be "saved."

That's true, but recall Sarkozy's wonderful talk to Congress a couple years ago--catch it on Youtube. Whatever happened to him anyway? I paraphrase: Whenever an American soldier falls, France grieves....

Last week I happened to catch a PBS documentary played for Memorial Day on America's overseas military cemeteries/war memorials. One of the things I found to be most touching was the way in which so many Europeans DID seem to remember these men. One, in particular, (in France, I believe) featured people who had "adopted" a soldier in the cemetery and had for many, many decades seen to it that flowers were placed on the graves for all major holidays (including July 4) and the birth and death dates of that soldier. One showed school children touring a cemetery--I think that was the one at Normandy. So . . . I dunno. I suppose there are those who have forgotten (or never had anything in the first place--because too young and uninformed). But that's true here too. The further we get away from the the event the harder it will be to make it come alive for young people--esp. if it is presented in the way that most of history is presented in schools.

I sometimes wonder why great historians and otherwise brilliant writers of history don't consider that their talents might be put to better use (that is, if they actually care about preserving an accurate and helpful telling of the past) if they'd spend a little more time crafting gripping history books for children and young people. As it is, so many are lost because of the deadly presentation in text books. And by the time that they grow up enough to realize that they ARE actually interested in history, they are so busy with life that they haven't much time or patience to wade through it. And they are also intimidated by their own ignorance of it. It is such a shame.

Europe has an inordinate number of spoiled brats (mostly on the Left) for whom nothing is ever important or honorable if it contradicts or simply fails to fit their worldview. We in America have the same group, although not as dominant. These are the people who "forget" D-Day and how America saved France TWICE.

Nonetheless, you can find good-hearted,sensible people in every nation, and they do remember such milestones. Yes, even in France.

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