2019 An Image A Day: Travels, Landscapes, Birds, Wildlife & People - birdshooter

Erwin N. Cooper, 2nd Lt

One of the most sobering sights of this old man's life was a visit to the American Cemetery at Normandy, so many crosses, so many lives. While my wife and I were visiting the American Cemetery we came upon a class of French children and their teacher. My wife speaks excellent French and she was translating for me. He was giving them a history lesson about what happened here 78 years ago and got it right. It seems that politicians had a short memory of the sacrifice made here.

This is a quote from President Lyndon B. Johnson after French President DeGaulle ordered all American forces out of France in 1964.

“Ask him about the cemeteries, Dean!"

In 1966 upon being told that President Charles DeGaulle had taken France out of NATO and that all U.S. troops must be evacuated off of French soil President Lyndon Johnson mentioned to Secretary of State Dean Rusk that he should ask DeGaulle about the Americans buried in France. Dean implied in his answer that that DeGaulle should not really be asked that in the meeting at which point President Johnson then told Secretary of State Dean Rusk:

"Ask him about the cemeteries Dean!"

That made it into a Presidential Order so he had to ask President DeGaulle.

So at end of the meeting Dean did ask DeGaulle if his order to remove all U.S. troops from French soil also included the 60,000+ soldiers buried in France from World War I and World War II.

DeGaulle, embarrassed, got up and left and never answered.”