Apparently, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has joined Hollywood and the many millions of Americans who believe that the beginning of the liberation of Europe on June 6, 1944 was an all-American affair. Among the heads of state not invited to the 65th anniversary of D-Day is Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and Canada, who is, incidentally, the last surviving leader who served in the Second World War.
A spokesman for the government of France said that this year’s anniversary of the Normandy landings was “first and foremost a Franco-American ceremony given the recent election of President [Barack] Obama.”
U.S. President Barack Obama will, of course, be at the ceremony to be held at the American cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, which overlooks Omaha beach on the Normandy coast.
Thousands of British and Canadian troops fought on Sword and Juno beaches on D-Day—something the French leader seems to have forgotten. Perhaps he prefers to ignore the fact that, but for their sacrifice, France’s national dish probably would now be Bratkartoffeln served with Mettbrötchen and Weissbier.
Since France was a pathetic no-show for most of the Second World War and had to be “liberated” by braver souls, one questions whether Sarkozy has any particular right to be included in the ceremony. He should have the decency to stand at a distance with his head down while the representatives of the nations who actually fought on the beaches of Normandy honour their fallen soldiers.