I understand those who point out that it’s hypocritical to #standwithparis when there are so many places where terror and violence occur on a daily basis, and my heart surely grieves for anyone subjected to fear, brutality and inhumane treatment.
But anytime the world can unite in peace and love, it’s a good, good thing. I am moved by the outpouring of love and support through the Facebook tricolor profile pictures of individuals the world over.
All three of my daughters were born in France and all five of my children are half-French. My daughter noted yesterday that this is the first time that she can recall that she has felt her two homelands unite as one, despite France and the United States’ lengthy alliance. As she noted, it seemed the Americans made fun of the French and the French belittled the Americans. It bothered her. Today is very different. Today, the red, white and blue colors represent a united conviction that innocent victims must never be targeted, much like it was in the aftermath of 9/11.
Yesterday, we buried my stepdad, Gen. James M. Abraham, who landed on Normandy during the D-day incursion in 1945. He and my sons’ paternal French grandfather, Colonel Hervé Arzel, became united in shared memories, honor and alliance. They had a deep respect and admiration for the other.
General Jim loved to take us to his favorite “bistro” in Ohio run by a French couple, where he would attempt to speak with them in broken French. He loved to speak French with me and my children. He loved France because he fought for them in 1945 and they became his people.
These two men came from different countries, cultures and experience, but led courageous lives devoted to a common cause … peace and protection of the innocent.
As my daughter and I made our way home to Kentucky after the funeral, we passed through Cincinnati and to see the city lit up with red, white and blue in honor of the fallen victim’s in France was emotionally overwhelming.
Our family (American and French) has felt a deep unity across an ocean over these last few horrific days that speak to Jim and Hervé’s courageous and heroic past, sparking a deep, deep love and respect for that which unites us.
In my opinion, this global declaration of support for France as it heals is God’s grace and His redemption of that deplorable act in France; and it is a call for us, whatever our individual allegiance or creed, to consider how we address violence against the innocent the world over.
May God bless and comfort those who suffer at the hands of cowards dans tous les coins du monde.