In the cover story of today’s Post, columnist and decorated war veteran Steve Dunleavy visits a military cemetery in France and proceeds to excoriate the French for “forgetting the sacrifice we (the US)” made in WWII. Never mind that he doesn’t talk to a single French person in his journey, he does quote some Americans there, who say, unfortunately for Dunleavy, “surely they remember.”
Although Souvenir (November 2001) is about a search for a WWI memorial, and although the French people in the film can’t give directions to the British monument, they absolutely have not forgotten WWI, much less WWII. What does seem to be forgotten, though, is the goodwill and sympathy the world extended to Americans during the period in which Souvenir is set, the goodwill that has been squandered.
Dunleavy quotes an American student giving the simplistic advice that has served backpackers well for years: “We have been told that if we face any kind of a threat, we should say we’re Canadians, not Americans.” That’s the fifth time in a week I’ve seen this tactic mentioned in the media. That’s something worth writing home about.