Wednesday, May 19, 2004

French trip report

The Great El-ahrairah is back again from yet another invasion of France. We wanted to go to London from Calais to Dover, but after seeing the ferry prices and how long it would take, we decided to drive down the coast from Calais to Le Havre and eventually ended up in Normandy. Since the 60th anniversary of the invasion is coming up, the veterans are already starting their pilgrimages. We went to Pegasus Bridge and to the American Cemetery in Normandy and drove along the Sword (British) and Juno (Canadian) invasion beaches.

One of the things that struck me was that 60 years ago, the Canadian military was large enough that they could field a whole Canadian Army. For the uninitiated, an army is composed of from 2 to 3 army corps. Each corps has 2 to 3 divisions, each division has 2 to 3 regiments, each regiment has 2 to 3 battalions, each battalion has 3 companies, etc. In all, an army had about 100,000 troops. Today, the Canadian military has problems even keeping a battalion deployed, so we see what 60 years of pacifism has done.

At Pegasus Bridge, there was a group of English tourists that we were able to tag along with and learn a bit more about why the Brits decided to take the bridge. The bridge is actually a drawbridge and taking it prevented the Germans from attacking the British flank.

At the American Normandy Cemetery, there were bus-loads of French school children walking around trying to practice their English by saying “Hello, hello”, to any passerby that they happened to see. As such, we didn’t stay all that long since it didn’t seem that much like a cemetery and more like Disneyland.

As I explained to my wife, the reason why I wanted to go back to the American Cemetery was because the men buried there would have been about the same age as my father if they had lived. They died so that I and countless generations of Americans could live in freedom. While I was there, I saw the cover of a French news magazine lamenting about how the qualities that pushed Americans to liberate France 60 years ago have been trampled by President Bush. They “suggested” that President Bush should be “uninvited”. Again, it’s sad to see what 60 years of pacifism has done to the French. When I was a missionary in France, we would joke about how the mighty French war machine would hold out for three days and then give up to save the country’s art treasures. It’s too bad that a county’s art treasures are more important than freedom.

Other than that, I haven’t been following what has been going on over in Iraq. I did hear about the roadside bomb that had nerve gas in it. Of course, no much has been said about this in the media, but then what would you expect. This would have proved President Bush right, so this will be conveniently forgotten.

Gay marriage also did happen in Massachusetts. The count down is on as to when Utah will be forced to accept these “sham” marriages. I have already given my thoughts on this in the previous warren. I guess we’ll see how this shakes out.


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