Monday, July 11, 2005

"These people love America"

Driving around southern Belgium and northern Luxembourg (Charleroi, Namur, Bastogne, Clervaux) I was struck by the number of little memorials to the sacrifice of the American soldiers during World War II. In fact, each little hamlet – and I'm talking very, very small villages – seemed to have some form of machine gun or artillery piece or in the bigger towns a Sherman tank flanked by the American flag and the Belgian or Luxembourger flag.

I didn't stop in every town or village nor could I really speak to the people, but there is no doubt in my mind that these people still admire the United States and revere those soldiers who liberated them. My children insisted that "these people love America".

This surprised me given what I believed about anti-Americanism in Europe as a whole. I can't say if what I saw is an aberration or if similar displays can be found throughout W. Europe or if this is simply because the Battle of the Bulge (or Battle of the Ardennes) was so intense that it remains alive today in a way that much of World War II does not for most of Europe.