Worthy of Praise

I’m probably guilty of a little Euro-bashing from time to time. But there are European allies who deserve our praise.

Toward the end of World War II, (search) a group of brave Europeans worked closely with General Patton’s Third Army (search) to sweep Nazi troops out of Europe. One of them was a Belgian who I got to know named Jacques Garain. Jacques was a tough resistance fighter, just out of his teens when he joined up with Gen. Patton’s Third Army in Ardennes, Belgium, where 5,237 U.S. servicemen lie buried.

Like most veterans who’ve seen real action, Jacques didn’t like to talk much about what he’d seen or done in those days. But his heroism, particularly in the Battle of the Bulge, became legend.

His respect for Gen. Patton was such that he organized a group of European Patton lovers called the "Blood and Guts Society" (search), the name of which horrified the sophisticates in Brussels, which pleased Jacques to no end. He loved to tweak European phonies. But Jacques’s appreciation of Americans was no joke. It went to his core.

“Without the American army,” he once told a buddy of mine, “we would all be slaves.” Jacques Garain died in June 2000 and was buried, appropriately enough, on June 6, the 45th anniversary of D-Day (search). He was a friend, a freedom fighter, and a genuine European ally.

And that’s the Asman Observer.

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