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Jour de l'Armistice

Le blogueur parisien Laurent a un très belle série de photos de l'American Cemetary à Paris, posté en avance du jour de l'Armistice en France. Dans les photos et les textes qui les accompagnent, il explore les complexités de la guerre sans la glorifier. Il écrit,

J’ai choisi, pour ce 11 novembre 2003, d’avoir une pensée particulière pour les Américains qui sont venus, sur le vieux continent, mourir dans cette boucherie entre 1917 et 1918.

Merci, Laurent.

Posted on novembre 11, 2003 at 10:38 PM in Blogosphère | Permalink

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An American's perspective on Armistice Day

On Veterans Day, every one of us ought to think about what our war veterans fought for, and whether we have honored their sacrifice with the way we live our lives.

Like millions of other Americans, my father was in World War II. He sat in Iceland for two lonely years before moving into continental Europe for the Battle of the Bulge and countless smaller battles until the Nazis surrendered.

My uncle served on the Battleship New Jersey, surviving typhoons and dodging kamikazes as the ship’s big guns pounded the enemy on island after island. He was in Tokyo shortly after two atom bombs brought the war to an end.

What were they fighting for? Have we honored their work?

They were fighting for democracy and freedom, certainly. They were fighting for their nation’s survival. And as many point out, they were fighting for their buddies and for themselves.

But as they dreamed of post-war peace, what did that dream look like?

Judging from what my father and my uncle made of their lives, I’d guess each of them dreamed of finding a good woman and raising a happy family in a land that let children play free of fear and allowed grown-ups to make an honest living on their skills, education and hard work.

When I look at America today, I wonder if the World War II veterans think they live in the country they dreamed of and fought for. When they invaded Omaha Beach or Anzio or Iwo Jima, did they imagine peace would look like this?

They fought for an America where the people were free to say just about anything they wanted, short of a threat, and free to do just about anything they wanted, short of hurting others. They fought for a country of open minds and generous hearts. And they won the war.

Thanks to them, Americans even have the right to be rude. But many of us forget that, in our words and actions, we also have a responsibility to care for others' rights and feelings. Too many of us have taken the right to be rude as an obligation, and too often we have seen selfishness, abuse and cruelty as a result.

We have the right to live our lives pretty much as we choose, but have we honored veterans with our choices? Have we done all we can to keep America a land of happy childhoods and fulfilling lives?

The world might have fewer challenges to freedom if we enjoyed our liberty more wisely. Have we done our part to show the world that freedom works?

Our veterans have given us Americans more freedom than the world has ever known. What have we done with their gift?

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