Saturday’s D-Day commemorations and salutations on Facebook and other social media reminded me of my first visit to France, in 1997. We saw Ugly Americans treating the French poorly, and on one or two occasions we experienced anti-American sentiment. Mostly, we learned the French will treat you wonderfully if you merely extend the simplest courtesy. As in saying, “Bonjour!” and “Merci!”
My most compelling memory of that trip was our cabbie who drove us from Paris to CDG for the flight home. Catching a cab that morning proved to be a challenge, but as we laughed it off in the back seat, our driver turned to us and said, “Americans?”
“Oui,” I answered, somewhat guardedly. But we obviously weren’t Germans, so what could I have said?
“I am from Normandy,” he said, in good if somewhat stiff English. “I was five years old on D-Day.” Then emphatically, with a period after each word, he proclaimed: “I. Love. Americans!”
Vive la France!