times of difficulty, in times of hardship, America and France
have always stood side by side, supported one another, helped
one another, fought for each other's freedom."
United States and France remain true to the memory of their
common history, true to the blood spilled by their children
in common battles."
the very beginning, the American dream meant proving to all
mankind that freedom, justice, human rights and democracy
were no utopia but were rather the most realistic policy there
is and the most likely to improve the fate of each and every
did not tell the millions of men and women who came from every
country in the world and who--with their hands, their intelligence
and their heart--built the greatest nation in the world: "Come,
and everything will be given to you." She said: "Come, and
the only limits to what you'll be able to achieve will be
your own courage and your own talent." America embodies this
extraordinary ability to grant each and every person a second
both the humblest and most illustrious citizens alike know
that nothing is owed to them and that everything has to be
earned. That's what constitutes the moral value of America.
America did not teach men the idea of freedom; she taught
them how to practice it. And she fought for this freedom whenever
she felt it to be threatened somewhere in the world. It was
by watching America grow that men and women understood that
freedom was possible."
made America great was her ability to transform her own dream
into hope for all mankind."
men and women of my generation heard their grandparents talk
about how in 1917, America saved France at a time when it
had reached the final limits of its strength, which it had
exhausted in the most absurd and bloodiest of wars."
men and women of my generation heard their parents talk about
how in 1944, America returned to free Europe from the horrifying
tyranny that threatened to enslave it."
took their sons to see the vast cemeteries where, under thousands
of white crosses so far from home, thousands of young American
soldiers lay who had fallen not to defend their own freedom
but the freedom of all others, not to defend their own families,
their own homeland, but to defend humanity as a whole."
took their sons to the beaches where the young men of America
had so heroically landed. They read them the admirable letters
of farewell that those 20-year-old soldiers had written to
their families before the battle to tell them: "We don't consider
ourselves heroes. We want this war to be over. But however
much dread we may feel, you can count on us." Before they
landed, Eisenhower told them: "The eyes of the world are upon
you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere
march with you."
as they listened to their fathers, watched movies, read history
books and the letters of soldiers who died on the beaches
of Normandy and Provence, as they visited the cemeteries where
the star-spangled banner flies, the children of my generation
understood that these young Americans, 20 years old, were
true heroes to whom they owed the fact that they were free
people and not slaves. France will never forget the sacrifice
of your children."
those 20-year-old heroes who gave us everything, to the families
of those who never returned, to the children who mourned fathers
they barely got a chance to know, I want to express France's
behalf of my generation, which did not experience war but
knows how much it owes to their courage and their sacrifice;
on behalf of our children, who must never forget; to all the
veterans who are here today and, notably the seven I had the
honor to decorate yesterday evening, one of whom, Senator
Inouye, belongs to your Congress, I want to express the deep,
sincere gratitude of the French people. I want to tell you
that whenever an American soldier falls somewhere in the world,
I think of what the American army did for France. I think
of them and I am sad, as one is sad to lose a member of one's
my generation did not love America only because she had defended
freedom. We also loved her because for us, she embodied what
was most audacious about the human adventure; for us, she
embodied the spirit of conquest. We loved America because
for us, America was a new frontier that was continuously pushed
back--a constantly renewed challenge to the inventiveness
of the human spirit."
makes America strong is the strength of this ideal that is
shared by all Americans and by all those who love her because
they love freedom."
strength is not only a material strength, it is first and
foremost a spiritual and moral strength. No one expressed
this better than a black pastor who asked just one thing of
America: that she be true to the ideal in whose name he--the
grandson of a slave--felt so deeply American. His name was
Martin Luther King. He made America a universal role model."
world still remembers his words--words of love, dignity and
justice. America heard those words and America changed. And
the men and women who had doubted America because they no
longer recognized her began loving her again."
what are those who love America asking of her, if not to remain
forever true to her founding values?"
as in the past, as we stand at the beginning of the 21st century,
it is together that we must fight to defend and promote the
values and ideals of freedom and democracy that men such as
Washington and Lafayette invented together."
feels it has the vocation to inspire the world. Because she
is the most powerful country in the world. Because, for more
than two centuries, she has striven to uphold the ideals of
democracy and freedom."
live the United States of America!"
"Long live French-American friendship!"