70 Years Ago Today: When ‘Something Amazing Happened’ in Paris

From Michael Fahy at American Thinker:

“They have come! The Americans are here!” Seventy years ago, August 25 (D-Day+80), Paris was liberated by the American 4th Infantry Division. Ike had planned to bypass Paris; liberation was an afterthought. As American and French liberators entered the city from opposite sides, Parisians poured into the streets. Vichy socialist snipers fired into the crowd but were quickly silenced by infantry return fire.  The elated Parisians erupted into a citywide party to greet the Americans with flowers, kisses, and wine.  Paris was again the City of Light.

Chicago journalist Ernest Hemingway, who had accompanied Americans in the seventh wave to hit Omaha Beach on D-Day, rode into Paris with the American 4th Infantry Division.

A Parisian schoolgirl’s feelings on her day of liberation are vibrantly expressed in the following brief excerpts from an unpublished text by Michelle Laforest entitled The Torn Exercise Book. Her writings were recently found stored in brown envelopes in dusty document boxes in the basement of the archive of the Musée Jean Moulin in Paris. The writer, Laforest, was a lycée (high school) student living with her parents and brother in the dark of Occupied Paris. Her words bring to life what otherwise would be an abstract summary of historical events.

6 June 1944, Michelle Laforest, Paris

And then the day that we had hoped for, for so long, arrived. D Day, a spring day the 6th of June 1944. The news broke suddenly. Yes, the 6th of June, the Allies have landed, yes, they have landed, is it really true? The news spread from house to house, from courtyard to courtyard, in the market, in the shops, in the long queues for food. We heard it on the radio! Finally, finally, finally! They had come!

25 August 1944, Michelle Laforest, Paris

It was one of those hot August days with more and more German lorries leaving the city and we could hear in the distance what sounded like the thunder of a storm but the sky was blue and the sound was not that of a bombardment. It was gunfire! The allies were coming, they were on their way, and they were nearly here! There was a kind of effervescence everywhere on the streets and in the homes.

An idea took hold – we needed flags; a collective idea, as if everyone had the same thought at the same time. We would make the flags and hang them at the windows. But how were we going to do it? Quick, tea towels, old sheets cut in strips. A piece of luck, there was a shop that sold dyes in the courtyard. We ran down and started boiling water in the tubs. Some red dye. Some blue dye. The red didn’t work very well, the material came out pinkish red, not the flamboyant red we had hoped for. Too bad. How many stars are there on the American flag? But never mind, we’ll have to just put some on, and that will be good enough.

Finally the flags were made, brandished ceremoniously and then hung out the windows. Everywhere the windows were decked with flags. The flags fluttered gently in the breeze. It was even more beautiful than on the 14th of July.

And then the news broke, they had arrived in Paris. Where were they? Some said Notre Dame, others the Hotel de Ville. Did it matter, they were here! That was definite; it had been announced on the [BBC] radio.

Read more: American Thinker