You Could Have Heard a Pin Drop

We recently marked the anniversary of President Obama’s order to Seal Team 6 to take out Osama bin Laden. His action displayed brilliance, decisiveness and fearlessness. He showed his usual “grace under pressure” (JFK’s quote from Hemingway) and when criticized by some French people for not giving bin Laden a proper religious burial, the President answered that he would not allow bin Laden’s burial site to become a shrine!

YOU COULD HAVE HEARD A PIN DROP!

Below are some other BON MOTS addressed to our sometimes obstreperous allies, the French:

JFK’s Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 1960’s when French President Charles de Gaulle announced that France would pull out of NATO. DeGaulle said that he wanted all U. S. military out of France as soon as possible. Secretary Rusk responded, ” Does that include all those who are buried here from two World Wars?” DeGaulle did not respond.

YOU COULD HAVE HEARD A PIN DROP!

At a conference in France there was a large number of international engineers participating, including French and American engineers. During a break, one of the French engineers asked, “Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims; what does he plan to do, bomb them?” A Boeing engineer stood up and quietly replied, “Our carriers have three hospitals on board which can treat several hundred people and they are nuclear-powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day; they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water each day and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from the flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?”

YOU COULD HAVE HEARD A PIN DROP!

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference which included admirals from the United States, Canada, Australia and France. At a cocktail reception, the admiral found himself standing with a large group of officers which included people from those countries. Everyone was chatting in English as they sipped their drinks when a French admiral suddenly complained that because Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, “Why is it that we always have to speak English at these conferences rather than speak in French?” Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, “Maybe it’s because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German!”

YOU COULD HAVE HEARD A PIN DROP!

Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, it took him a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry-on baggage. “You have been to France before, monsieur?” the customs officer asked, sarcastically. Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously. “Then you should have known to have your passport ready, instead of holding up the line.”, the agent said, derisively. Mr. Whiting replied, “The last time I was here I didn’t have to show it.” The agent said, huffily, “That’s impossible, Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in France.” Mr. Whiting, the american senior citizen gave the Frenchman a long hard look and quietly said, “Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate your country, I just couldn’t find a single Frenchman to show a passport to!”

YOU COULD HAVE HEARD A PIN DROP!

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Ed Walcek
Guest
Ed Walcek

“Patriotism, in my opinion, should come from truth, not from jingoistic propaganda based on half-truths, generalities, prejudice, or outright ignorance. “…and when criticized by “SOME” French people…” Come on! Really? And, “…Does that include all those who are buried here from two World Wars?” We didn’t burry our fallen on French soil. They were shipped here to be put to rest at home. The underlying premise of these stories and the one I take exception to, is that the French are somehow anti American. This anti French campaign started when they stood before the UN general assembly, and denounced the U.S.… Read more »

Nancy Dean
Member

Sue, years ago, when I was still teaching, on many occasions a student group from another country would visit our school. On one such occasion a group of teens from France visited my high school class, (not sure why, as I taught Spanish), but someone in that class may have been hosting one of the young men. At any rate, I was fairly surprised when a couple of the French teens used the class visit as a platform to express their dislike of American politics, customs and culture. I remained silent and listened while the youngster was on his soapbox.… Read more »

Larry Chapman
Admin

I’ve never been to France but the French who I’ve known have been wonderful people. They were all women and all war brides who came to America with their GI husbands following WWII. Maybe that sets them apart from the main population. While in the Navy my ship was deployed to France following a patrol in the North Atlantic. I had been transferred to another ship and missed this cruise. Later I ran into some of my old shipmates and we talked about what liberty had been like in their port of call, La Harve. Till then their European experiences… Read more »

Randy Sagar
Guest
Randy Sagar

Awesome job, Sue! I loved it.

Vickie Duff
Guest
Vickie Duff

Hi Sue, very good article. My stepfather was in a group that helped free some French from the Germans. There was an article in the Readers Digest about it. It is an awesome story. You should see his face when he has told the story. It is a bittersweet memory for him.