Monday, May 27, 2013

My Baby Celebrates Memorial France

My youngest son flew to Paris almost a week ago for a six-week university-sponsored internship, in which he would be a kind of research assistant to a retired U.S. Army major who now teaches over there and is working on a project involving the war memorials of France.  I had a hard time saying good-bye to my boy last Tuesday night, knowing that he would be spending so much of the summer so far away from home (which you already know if you read this post from last Wednesday).

But when I read his Facebook status yesterday and saw the pictures he'd posted, I finally realized that if he hadn't been able to do this internship, he would have missed out on the experience of a lifetime.

In the words of this young Army ROTC cadet/college student I'm so proud to call my son, who before this trip had never been out of the country (unless you count a couple of ski trips to Canada) : "Just celebrated Memorial Day at the cemetery in Saint-Avold, France, one of the largest WWII cemeteries in the world (over 10,000 buried), where I got to meet a 2 star general and his aide (both special forces), then I traveled all across France and discovered 8 new monuments/memorials.  Yeah, this was easily the best Memorial Day I've had..."
When I saw the pictures he'd taken yesterday, a lump formed in my throat.  There are so many memorials that have been erected by the French in honor of U.S. servicemen who came to their aid during the Second World War and lost their lives in the process.  So on this day when we honor all those brave souls who made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives to ensure our freedoms, I'll let some of the pictures he took of the touching tributes that dot the French countryside do the talking.

On this Memorial Day, God bless our brave men and women in the military, who continue to fight the good fight for us.  And God bless America.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing these pictures, Laura! My dad is a Vietnam vet, and has raised our family to love and appreciate our military past and present. I feel a sense of sadness when Memorial weekend becomes another "vacation"/party time for our country and the real reason for the day off is forgotten. We need to remember, to pause, to give thanks and to pray. What a special opportunity for your son, one he will always remember, I am sure!!

    1. Hi, Susan. Thanks for your heart-felt comments.

      We've had family members in every branch of the military but the Marines. My husband was a Naval aviator and I have four sons in the Army: one on active duty, two in the Reserves, and one in Army ROTC at college. My husband's father and two of his brothers were Naval officers. We have countless nieces and nephews who have served, are serving, or will serve. So we love the military and try to honor it. And yet, nothing my youngest son has ever seen compares to what he experienced over there. His Memorial Day experience in France was so different than what he's used to back here.

      My boy said that the French have an unbelievably deep appreciation for the sacrifices U.S. servicemen made to help their country during WWI and WWII. The memorials he saw were often dedicated to downed American airmen, whose planes landed in the fields behind these people's homes. He was incredibly moved by how seriously the French people took all the celebrations, and he'll never think of Memorial Day the same way again.

      God bless your dad for the sacrifices he made. God bless all of our fighting men and women. What would we do without them?