A Pilgrimage to Monticello

"The visit to Monticello, home to America's third president, served to showcase a relationship that stretches back to the founding of the United States in the late 18th century, an alliance still strong despite spats over U.S. eavesdropping and trade talks with the European Union."  Reuters


These two soldiers are from the "Infanterie de la Marine."  These are the old "Colonial Troops" of French History.  They were renamed a while back in recognition of the end of the French empire overseas.  They are specialists in interventions in the remote and obscure places of the earth.  they are "hard cases."

President Hollande, like Sarkozy before him has been willing to commit these men and other French troops to combat as partners of the United States.  They are valuable allies.

Americans should stop mouthing nonsense abou "freedom fries,"  and insults directed at an army that was bled dry in warfare against the Germans and Viet Minh.  In fact they fought very well in all their wars.  Names like Verdun, Bir Hakeim and Na San mean too litle for many.

As Obama said today at the White House, France is our oldest ally.  We have never been at war with the French and without the French Army and the French Navy there would be no United States of America.  pl






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24 Responses to A Pilgrimage to Monticello

  1. walrus says:

    Well said Col. Lang.

  2. Medicine Man says:

    Col.: I agree whole-heartedly. European history is full of defeats they survived and victories they won. I’ve read that between 1914 and 1919 one third of their men of military age had been killed. It is infuriating that so many on this side of the pond can’t grasp what that means.

  3. John Minnerath says:

    Yes, I cringe when I hear deprecating remarks made against the French.
    They’ve supported us through bad times and good.
    Always have and most likely always will.
    A nephew plays professional basketball for Saint Thomas of Le Havre and our family has deep roots in Normandy and Lorraine.

  4. Hank Foresman says:

    The French are good soldiers. Most Americans are ignorant of the sacrifices of the French soldiers on the battlefields of World War I.
    We some how expect our Allies to be pliant little followers, who do as we say, and not question us.
    The French, believe that friendship involves telling a friend what they are doing is stupid. They did so in the case of Iraq, they were right, we were wrong. Unfortunately we can never admit we were wrong; and we will continue to proudly call french fries “freedom fries” because we are ignorant of history.

  5. The beaver says:

    Unfortunately the rah rah crowd both on the Hill and on the airwaves don’t want to know. Even when one mentions Rochambeau, you will be asked “What” instead of “who” and the word Yorktown does not mean much to some.
    The sad thing I heard couple of days ago: “why do they have to make announcement in French first at the Olympics?”

  6. The Twisted Genius says:

    A true friend will warn you when you are about to make a complete ass of yourself. That’s what France did when we foolishly decided to invade Iraq. Our reaction was freedom fries and a disastrous war. Well, we’re all sinners. Anyone with half a brain and a shred of honor has moved beyond this and realized that the American-French relationship is more special than the American-British one. I’ve worked with the French army and the FFL. I would proudly do so again. Here’s another link in homage to our French brethren.

  7. scott s. says:

    Col: “We have never been at war with France”, unless one considers the Quasi-War, which resulted in the creation of the Dept of the Navy and US Marine Corps.
    9 Feb 1799 The 36 gun frigate USS Constellation, Thomas Truxton commanding, engages and defeats the French 40 gun frigate L’Insurgente thus marking the first victory at sea for the USN. Something Sailors at least recognize.

  8. If you have not visited Monticello for a long time it is vastly improved under its professional curators! I believe I am correct that annually is the most visited house in America. The house faces west.
    Poplar Forest, another Jefferson house near Lynchburg, has also had substantial restoration in the last two decades.

  9. turcopolier says:

    I yield you the point. pl

  10. Watcher says:

    I was able to visit the US Cemetery in Normandy in March of ’12. As I was walking through it, I watched an a elderly French lady walking amongst the grave stones, laying a red rose at each one. A simple gesture, yet heavy with meaning.

  11. Fred says:

    Scott S.
    True, not too many remember the Constellation.
    If you are a revolutionary war buff here’s some war for independence history about the various state navies, ships, captains and their successes.

  12. Peter C says:

    All the above rings true and not to mention the large sums lent by the French during the Revolutionary War.

  13. turcopolier says:

    Years ago the US resident guardian of the Aisne-Marne cemetery told me that his funds never sufficed for repairs and that he had a list of French contractors and builders who did his repair work gratis, literally. He also told me that the Wehrmacht guarded both his cemetery and their own just down the road while they occupied France. pl

  14. The beaver says:

    OT: A couple of the R2P moms and the AS at State “F— the EU” were present at the state dinner last night.

  15. turcopolier says:

    The BHO administration is still in thrall to the R2P crowd. I note that the IDF DMI has changed its estimate on Syria to project a long war. Was Beyoncé at the dinner? pl

  16. CK says:

    A nice list of wallets.

  17. Anon1 says:

    I had a chance to visit the Aisne-Marne cemetery in the late 80s. A very beautiful place, but they have so few visitors.

  18. The beaver says:

    It does not look like it. The Mrs chose another singer for the evening 🙂

  19. Oofda says:

    I was going to add that..but yes, the French have been a loyal ally. And this year, being the centenial anniversary year of the beginning of World War I/The Great War, is a reminder of the enormous losses the French sustained. As you noted, Verdun, as well as the Battle of the Marne and others show the courage of the French soldier. The idiots with their “Freedom Fries” and snide remarks about things French are to be ignored and disdained.

  20. Oofda says:

    And if you are going to visit Monticello, remember that Ash Lawn is just next door- Jefferson cut a swath through the forest and was able to signal Monroe with candles and mirrors to have conversations.

  21. Alba Etie says:

    I read the wiki regarding Bir Hakeim – it looks like the Free French saved the UN ‘s collective bacon in that holding action . We do have a storied history of mutual investment with blood & treasure with France.

  22. confusedponderer says:

    I am glad to read of such things mentioned every now and then.
    They should be known more.
    As many Rhinelanders did, my grandfather served in France near Lannilis, Brittany, as an NCO in what must have been a clerk funktion. A French lawyer, at a time when the Boche weren’t exactly popuilar in France, at the end of the war, asked him to stay, and bring his family. He didn’t. I read out of that that he served honourably.
    Last week I read on YNET a story of some moron US starlet, tracing her family tree and being reduced to tears upon learning that her Grandfather, mother’s side, served in the Wehrmacht during WW-II.
    Oh really? A male, military age German serving in the Wehrmacht during WW-II? How extraordinary.
    So what? Both of my grandfathers did. And a number of uncles. And a couple million other Germans of their generation. That’s because they had conscription then.
    “My German grandma definitely spoke about her life during the war way more than my grandfather did”
    So what? My dad never spoke about the war. Never. On their trek west, they passed through Dresden about a week after the bombing. There would have been things to tell.
    All it means is that it is a closed chapter.
    BS stories like that always make me cringe.

  23. harry says:

    If one studies french military history, its immediately clear that a shortage of valour was never a problem. Their problem tended to be an excess of valour and a lack of immagination.

  24. turcopolier says:

    Profoundly true. A good example would be the French government decision to force General Cogny to seek decisive engagement at Dien Bien Phu. Any sort of examination of time/distance factors for support and supply should have indicated that against the enemy that the Viet Minh had become this was a bad plan. Cogny knew that at the time but was told by Navarre and Paris to shut up and get on with it. pl

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