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Paris Diary: Lafayette et Washington
General John J. Pershing is supposed to have said, “Lafayette, nous voilà” (Lafayette, here we are) when he first set foot in France in 1917, but it ain’t so. The much-encompassing phrase was spoken in Paris’ PicPus cemetary by Colonel Charles E. Stanton on July 4, 1917 on the occasion of an Independence Day celebration by a batallion of American troops.
Lafayette came to George Washington’s aid during the Revolution, and Americans have been happily grateful ever since. The French were proud of their role, too, or so it seems, for a good many years, even after we helped them out in WWI. Perhaps the fact that our GI’s had to help the French again in WWII put the folks here uncomfortably into America’s debt, and the Gaullist élite seems never to have gotten over France’s diminished status. Tant pis.
The above monument stands in the Place des Etats-Unis in the 16th arrondissment. It was offered to the City of Paris in 1895 by Joseph Pulitzer. The laconic plaque reads:
Lafayette et Washington. Hommage à la France en reconnaissance de son généreux concours dans la lutte du peuple des Etats-Unis pour l’indépendance et la liberté.
[Lafayette et Washington. Homage to France in recognition of its generous participation in the American people’s fight for independence and freedom.]
Today, curiously, the French right is more reluctant to work with the U.S. than the left. François Hollande was publicly grateful for the ability to use American airlift capacity in France’s recent police action in Mali.
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…