Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

Old Loyalties Are Not All Forgotten

Today is the anniversary of the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944 that began the expulsion of Nazi armies from France. It is deeply gratifying to me that, despite political differences, our old friendship with the French is still on solid footing. We are perhaps like a married couple that bickers with each other, but nevertheless will protect each other tooth and nail.

Our friendship with the French goes back at least to the help of the Marquis de Lafayette's invaluable assistance during the Revolution. The Marquis' name is prominent in many places around the U.S., and here in the nation's capital it is especially prominent. He was the principal architect of the District of Columbia, and before that, he helped to train American soldiers to fight the British for independence. He was loved by our soldiers because, though of noble birth, he was humble, approachable, brave, and he helped to galvanize our army's resolve. While touring the U.S. after some twenty years back home in France, the Marquis told Americans in one speech that one day, we might with our idealism and willingness to sacrifice, very well save liberty in the world.

When General Pershing brought the American Expeditionary Force to France to help fight the Germans in World War I, he brought his armies to the grave of the Marquis de Lafayette. There he gave them a speech to remind them of our purpose there, and of our old friendship with France, and how they had come on behalf of America to honor that friendship once again. It is said that, while they were leaving, Pershing's attache placed a flower on the grave and said simple, "Monsieur Lafayette, we are here."

Twenty-seven years later, Americans would again return in arms, again to fight the same enemy, again on behalf of the same broken friend. France's armies had psyched themselves out and given up almost without a fight, betraying their countrymen who prayed German occupation would be brief and not so bad. Four years later, after that nation had been brutalized, its old friends west of the Atlantic returned again. As Lafayette had galvanized our nation's resolve to fight, our armies lifted France up to fight for her freedom as well. Especially in Normandy, that old friendship is not forgotten. We should be careful not to let the agendas and fads of political parties to override that friendship. It may not be too long before either they or we need once again to call upon it for assistance in peril.

Here is an article from the Washington Post.

My own experience travelling to France has been a very warm one. On four separate trips I have been treated uniformly well, despite my bad French accent and my out-of-place American clothes.

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