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Wollaton Hall Museum To Be

Translated extract of France-Amerique, July 5-11,2003ded

Memory - on July 4th, a symbolic gesture of American-friendly French people, on both sides of the Atlantic.

A Red Rose on American Soldiers' Tombstone

"French people will never forget". It is the best answer American-friendly people could give to the controversy that occurred lately and that has been fed by some media during the War in Iraq. "They have forgotten" was the title of a New York Post front page article showing a picture of American Soldiers' tombstones in Normandy.

A symbolic gesture that has never been done before: a red rose will be laid on every tombstone in order to celebrate the American Independence Day Anniversary on July 4th. Here is the press release spread by the associations, located on both sides of the ocean, that have founded and signed this initiative.

"The friendship and alliance tradition between France and the US have always meant a lot to French people. And this has been going on for more than 225 years. Whatever circumstances and divergences in opinion exist between us, we wish to affirm this deep feeling. We cannot forget, we do not forget and we will not forget the ultimate sacrifice made by American heroes to set France free during both WW1 and WW2.

In order to show our gratefulness and the depth of this feeling, we have launched an initiative that has never been done before: a symbolic gesture. Indeed, on July 4th, a red rose will be laid on all 11 monuments dedicated to missing soldiers and on the 60,511 tombstones of American soldiers who died in France during WW1 and WW2.

The 4th of July, anniversary of America's Independence Day, is a historical date for France too. France has supported the American Independence and has even been the first country to recognize the USA as a nation. This year is the 225th anniversary of the friendship treaty signed by our two countries in 1778.

This initiative comes from a wide collective will. It has been immediately approved by all the French associations contacted both in France and the US. One of them, "Les Fleurs de la Memoire" (Flowers of Memory) was created 3 years ago and has already several thousand of French families in its members. They have committed themselves, in writing, to one and only mission: they will put flowers, at least once a year, on the tombstone of an American soldier who died in France. The parents and their children will have to do it during their whole life. This shows again the deep feeling of friendship that brings American and French people together.

There must not be any doubts about this friendship, it has always survived and will always survive. As President Roosevelt used to say: "No other nations are more united by history bonds and mutual friendship than French and American peoples".

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