Victory Day

Perhaps we were still shell-shocked from recently watching Saving Private Ryan, but seeing the dozen old stooped men, mostly in their 80s, standing before a war memorial in the village of Montcuq was emotionally overwhelming.

It was May 7, the French holiday marking the end of World War II, and these were men who fought for their country. They are also the men the neocon chickenhawks insulted and maligned when France refused to join Bush’s war against Iraq and U.S. popular opinion was turned against France.

The old men held French flags as they stood silently, listening to patriotic music. I stopped the car, got out and stood at attention, giving them my best U.S. Army salute as they walked by after the ceremony.

There will undoubtedly be fewer next year, until there are none, but they won’t be forgotten.

Submitted by Ray