Sad day. Freedom ain’t free.

| July 4, 2023

Medal of the Legion of Honor

Monday, France lost their last remaining D-Day veteran. We are not so far away from doing the same.

The last surviving Frenchman to participate in the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944 died Monday aged 100, local authorities said.

Leon Gautier was among 177 Frenchmen who participated in the landings on June 6, 1944, which marked the start of a rollback of Nazi Germany’s domination of western Europe.

He belonged to the Kieffer commando, made up of French fighters who continued to battle the Nazis alongside the US, Britain and other Allied forces even after the French government surrendered to Germany in 1940.

I know we love to make French jokes: “French Rifle for sale, only dropped once” etc., but in so doing we ignore the thousands of French who fought for the Allies, or were in the Resistance. Not to mention the alliances we have maintained almost continuously since M. de Lafayette helped a fella named Washington in some our darker hours. Have they been perfect allies? Absolutely not, but then, arguably we have occasionally been the strangest of bedfellows ourselves too.

Gautier — who had lived in Ouistreham since the 1990s — joined the Free France movement in London, headed by Charles de Gaulle, in 1940.

He went to fight in Congo, Syria and Lebanon before joining the Normandy assault.

After the war, he became a campaigner for peace, pointing to his wartime experiences.

“You kill people on the other side who never did anything to you, who have families, and children. For what?” he said during a celebration for his 100th birthday last year.

AFP

ALL of the folks who stuck their noses into that Nazi buzzsaw in June of 1944 deserve our respect. We need to be mindful that that was almost 80 years ago and cherish those few, from whatever Allied country,  who remain.

Category: War Stories, We Remember, WWII

14 Comments
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STSC(SW/SS)

RIP Mr Gautier.

It’s sad that you helped defeat the Nazis and freed your country only to see your own countrymen destroy France from within.

KoB

Sad indeed, STSC. A harbinger of what we are facing? Prepare!

Rest Easy, Good Sir. We Salute your Service to your Nation and the World. When you run into Uncle In Law Gilbert’ there at Fiddler’s Green tell him I said hello. Gilbert’ was one of the Free French that stayed behind to help pave the way for the landings. He never really spoke of his work that he did after he got his Mamma and sister out of France into Morocco. He could have stayed and joined with the others but went back and was part of the underground for 4 years.

26Limabeans

“A harbinger of what we are facing?”

We are both blind and deaf to what awaits us.
Enjoy your hotdog.

5JC

You need a hot dog too.

Big-ass-hot-dog.jpg
Sapper3307

France could use some men like this ,,today
Salute

SFC D

We could use more men like this. That’s right, I said MEN. Not whatever trending term those people are using this week.

Deckie

These kinds of stories really shake me… and make me think.

I recall the room was quite dusty and the allergies came on strong at the Deckie household when learning about the passing of Frank Buckles in 2011. I doubt I’ll fare any better when our last from WW2 crosses.

Old tanker

RIP Sir, may your reunion with your Brothers and Family be joyful.

Sparks

Rest in peace Sir.

2banana

He made France safe for islam.

Hate_me

He made France safe for Frenchmen.

Last edited 11 months ago by Hate_me
Skivvy Stacker

Slow but sure they keep marching away.
Year by year they grow fewer and fewer. Though they survived the violence and horrible nightmare of total war, they all knew they would eventually go Home. They just didn’t know when.
Some would only live a short time, others would live into another century. And some would live for an entire century themselves.
I thank Almighty God that I lived at the same time that such men as these lived. I measure myself against them, and always find that I come up short. These were a group of men [and women] who will probably never step upon the stage of the American Play again.
Born at the end of a Century that saw a Civil War that nearly tore this nation in two, or born at a time when that war still resonated throughout the land, and beat a drum in the minds of people who wanted to build a greater nation, and live up to the creed of “All Men are Created Equal”. They fought a war that freed men who’s only crime was a Religion. There were men of dark skin who came home and DEMANDED that the guarantees of the Constitution be kept. The REBUILT AMERICA.
I mourn their passing with each year.
And I mourn the passing of this Frenchman. A Patriot to his own nation. A Nation that stood with us in our birth. A Nation that has always been at the forefront of LIBERTY.
Vivez longtemps, mon ami, vivez longtemps entre les mains de Dieu

Hate_me

Non, rien de rien…. Non, je ne regrette rien….

Reposez en paix, Monsieur Gautier. Vous le méritez.

Last edited 11 months ago by Hate_me
Skivvy Stacker

Je vous salue, monsieur. Et que Dieu bénisse notre frère d’armes.