The phrase, "LaFayette, we are here," attributed to either Gen. John J. Pershing or Col. Charles E. Stanton as American forces reached France during World War is a simple, powerful sentence about a debt about to be repaid.
Sometimes simple words are enough.
Sometimes more is more. As Winston Churchill said, about 20 some years later:
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
Those words meant something.
We are going to Paris, not for such lofty reasons, but to have fun. Of course, any visit has a serious side, too, because Paris is Paris, a city of many layers and of much history and tragedy.
It will not seem real until the Northwest baggage man slaps that CDG label on our suitcases. Not a word, only the initials of the aptly-named Charles de Gaulle.
If all goes well, I will see you back here in a few days, blogging from the American Library in Paris.