Thursday, May 08, 2008

VE Day

The Governor General and Commander-in-Chief at Bény-Reviers. And good on the President of the French Republic:
President Nicolas Sarkozy, noting the lack of language squabbles in the heroic and bloody 1944 battle here against Nazi Germany's entrenched defence lines, said France doesn't take sides in Canada's unity debates.

"We like Quebec. We like Canada. We like them both," he said in an emotional speech at a Canadian war cemetery near Juno Beach, where more than 2,000 Canadians are buried.

Nodding toward the tombstones around him, he noted that no one asked those soldiers what language they spoke when they were fighting and dying to free Europe from Nazi tyranny.

Earlier today, flanked by Canada's Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean, Sarkozy thanked Canada's "young heroes" who took party in the decisive 1944 D-Day battle on these Normandy shores.

With French soldiers and the English Channel as a backdrop, Sarkozy's speech marks the first time a French president has gone outside Paris to hold the annual May 8 celebrations commemorating the 1945 end of the Second World War [emphasis added].

After first recognizing British and American troops for leading the charge that day, Sarkozy cited Canada's huge role in the battle.

"We will never forget these young heroes," he said in the first of two events today with Jean...

Earlier in the day, France's state-owned radio station aired comments by Jean, who drew parallels between Afghanistan and the Second World War, saying France's decision to send 700 more troops to Afghanistan was greeted with a "sigh of relief" in Canada.

"You know, it was welcomed in Canada with an immense sigh of relief, this news, France's decision to participate in the reinforcement of the Canadian presence," said Jean. "What we hope is that we arrive together to reestablish stability in Afghanistan. No development is possible without security."..
Lest we forget.


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