Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama, Obama, Obama....

Aubrey and I were in France when Obama was elected as the next president of the United States. To be more specific, we were staying in this gorgeous chateau built in the 1600s that we happened upon (along our tour following the 101st Airborne’s campaign in Normandy) when we heard the news at about 3:00 in the morning via multiple text messages. It was an amazing moment for our country and quite the experience to hear the news and witness the reaction in Normandy.
For those of you who only hear that the French are snobs and hate America, I have another story to tell you. Though, I can’t speak for the whole of France and all it’s citizens, I can attest to the warmth and welcome we experienced throughout Normandy. We drove for 2 ½ days from Bayeux to St. Mere Eglise, making stops at every beach, including Omaha and Utah, and cities of significance to the 101st Airborne along the way (we’re sorta history buffs as well as foodies.) Everywhere we went, we were treated with respect and kindness…we even walked out on private property to stand at the tree lines of Brecourt Manor where the 101st overtook a German Battery on D-Day and were greeted with smiles and waves.

The point is, in Normandy, we could let our guard down. It was okay to be American….I’m not a closet patriot, by any means, but in Normandy, I felt proud to show it. Following the election, I felt proud everywhere we went. In 2005 and 2006, this was not the case. We actually shoveled in our doner kabob as fast as we could to boogie out of a restaurant when the waiter wanted to start talking about Bush…. (This woman behind the door REALLY wanted to talk to us but only in French... all we could understand was her muttering..."Obama, Obama, Obama....")
Press coverage showed gatherings of people cheering, comics circled around with the Statue of Liberty hugging Obama for dear life, and it was literally like night and day in the way America was portrayed in the global eye… like I said, stuff to remember. I can believe in THAT change (cue campaign theme music.)

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