Jun 2 2009
On the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, this Navy veteran, John Harry Kellers, is one of 20 U.S. veterans who will receive the award for heroism in the liberation of France.
Better late than never, I guess. Too bad, they have to spoil it by having Obama at the ceremony, unless he decides to duck out of visiting Normandy like he did the last time he was in France.
PATCHOGUE, N.Y. – Sixty-five years after he first saw the beaches of Normandy from behind a gun on the deck of a U.S. Navy landing craft on D-Day, John “Harry” Kellers will return to receive one of France’s highest honors.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will present Kellers with a medal making him a “Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honor” at a ceremony on June 6 marking the anniversary of the 1944 Allied invasion that liberated France from Nazi Germany in World War Two.
Kellers is one of around 20 U.S. veterans who will fly to France this week for the ceremony to be attended by U.S. President Barack Obama.
He was an 18-year-old from rural Long Island, New York, when he saw combat for the first time aboard the landing craft LCT 539, which carried infantry and combat engineering equipment onto Omaha Beach in Normandy.
“I was so naive I had no idea what the big event was going to be,” Kellers said in a an interview at this home in Patchogue, Long Island. “The most terrifying to me was when a fellow got hit in the head and his head exploded.”
“There was nothing but this pink, reddish pink, and we had it all over our uniforms and what we were wearing, and at that time you really knew it was a serious business,” he said, recalling having to hose down the deck to wash away the blood.
THIS JUST IN: Obama disses Sarkozy’s D-Day ambitions
Barack Obama is not doing anything to help Nicolas Sarkozy. Three days from the US leader’s arrival for his D-Day weekend, he is keeping his distance from the French president who was so eager to welcome him.
The White House’s coolness has added to embarrassment at the Elysée Palace over the way they have bungled what Sarkozy wanted to be a supreme Franco-American moment in Paris and especially Normandy.
Obama is turning up in Paris on Friday evening, but spending the evening privately with Michelle and his entourage. He is not due to see Sarkozy and Carla Bruni at the Elysée. Their only tête-à-tête will be in the Normandy town of Caen on Saturday. The Americans have refused a French request for the two men to hold a joint press conference.
Talking to Canal+, Obama rather damned Sarkozy with faint praise.“Your President Sarkozy I think has been very courageous in some of the decisions he has made”.The two examples he cited were Sarkozy’s support for the US in Afghanistan and over Iran.
The Elysée is exasperated with the Americans, Europe 1 radio reported this morning. “Barack Obama has truly done nothing to give value to his relations with Nicolas Sarkozy,“ said their breakfast news. TIMES ONLINE
(Of course not, he’s too busy bowing down to Saudi Kings.)
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