A little over a month ago, I spent many days walking through les jardins du Luxembourg in Paris. Today, marking the 5th anniversary of September 11th, the American flag was raised in that very garden and the American National Anthem was played. I was also in le jardin des Tuileries perhaps the last time the American National Anthem was played in Paris in honor of Floyd Landis, weeks before his Tour de France win was taken away.
But the instance today is the one that has made me pause. After the hysteria of “Freedom Fries” and silly Americans pouring out French wine in protest of a country that didn’t follow us blindly into the incredibly regrettable Iraq war, Parisiens today took a moment to remember our loss five years ago.
Would we do the same if the circumstances were reversed?
The French continue to be the butt of sophomoric jokes, yet they raised our flag in one of their most beautiful gardens today. A flag that means something different to the world today than it did five years ago. While we have squandered the good will of the world, a world that was united with us in our grief five years ago, unbelievably, there are still people in the world outside our country that manage to put all of that aside and look at that day from a human standpoint. Something I see us less and less capable of doing as a country.
Maybe when the clock runs out on this administration in two years, the people who take their place will be able to mend what has been broken. The fact that an American flag was raised in les jardins du Luxembourg today, gives me hope that all is not lost.
Nous sommes désolée, France. Être patient avec nous pendant deux années supplémentaires, svp. Merci de ne pas donner vers le haut sur nous.
Les jardins du Luxembourg