Veteran's Day

By Didier Allouch, host of Rendez-vous d'Amérique

My dear friends, francophiles, francovorous and francophageous, I have a confession to make. Since the beginning of the show, 9 years ago, I have been a huge fan of The Walking Dead. Yes, I have no shame in that I’ve been an adult for a while now but I have never missed one episode...

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Every Sunday night I am stuck to my TV. Heck, I love this show so much that I even watched its spin-off, Fear The Walking Dead (and believe me, it’s not that easy…).  As I tell you this, it’s not to talk with you about the terrible fate of Rick Grimes (yes I already miss him…) or about the amazing idea of talking zombies from the last episode (my fellow fans got me) but because last Sunday, something happened that reminded me about one of the best sides of America.

An Unexpected Tribute

After the show, each Sunday, AMC airs a post-episode debate called Talking Dead where you can geek out like crazy about what we just saw. And last Sunday, just before he starts talking about the best zombie deaths of the episode, the host of the show, the very talented Chris Hardwick, started with something that has nothing to do with living dead. He started by asking people to remember the soldiers who gave their lives for peace and those who are serving today to protect us. Yes, it was November 11th 2018, the Centennial of the WWI armistice, that Americans honor with a Veteran’s Day tribute.

And here “Veteran”, it’s not just a word. There is a respect for the armed forces and what these men and women have given for their country; that is just unique. If you want proof of that, check out Rendez-vous d’Amérique this week. We have a story about the commemoration of the WWI Armistice Centennial in Kansas City, Missouri. Thousands of miles away from Paris, Amiens or Verdun, this key date in the History of the world was celebrated with the same fervor and emotion as on the Champs-Elysées.

A Touching Memorial

In Kansas City, they have the National WWI Museum and Memorial, the most important museum about WW1 on the American continent. And what they have done to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the war’s end is just impressive. You’ll see in the show. And it’s also the proof that this country never forgets those who fought for it, wherever the battle was. It’s a country were people debate non-stop about the validity of a war, and it’s more than essential to do so, but here nobody attacks those who fight these wars.

I remember the opening of COLCOA, April 2003. It was the beginning of the war in Iraq, a war France, rightfully in my modest opinion, refused to participate in. A war that was not really accepted by a large part of Americans. The opening of the festival of French film in L.A. was on the same week that the first bombings began in Baghdad. Amongst the many officials talking that night on stage, there was Jack Valenti, MPAA director at the time. I don’t remember how, but he started to talk about the war and kind of justifying it. Boos started flying in the audience. It was pretty impressive. And Valenti said something like: “We may not agree about this war but I hope we can agree about supporting our soldiers.” Immediate silence in the room, followed by unanimous applause. That night, I realized that in this country, the respect for Veterans and for the troops is something unique. It is the same respect I see on American Veteran’s Day.

Deep Rooted Respect

This is a country where we can be proud to pay homage to Veterans even in a TV show about zombies. This is not shocking or bizarre. This is just a natural and normal form of respect for people that made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

And contrary to what some people in Washington say today, this is not a very dangerous nationalism--just the proof of a healthy patriotism that has always been at the root of the United States of America. If you don’t believe me, just watch Rendez-Vous d’Amérique this week, and you’ll see what happened in Kansas City, Missouri, on November 11th 2018, American Veteran’s Day.

To learn more about the American Veteran’s Day memorial in Kansas City, tune into this week’s episode of Rendez-vous d’Amérique, the tv show on TV5MONDE USA that covers cultural Francophone events throughout the United States.

Click here for more information about the next episode, which also features interviews with French pianist Delphine Bardin before her performance in Carnegie Hall, and French animators Nicolas Prothais and Marie Tollec, who helped create the Disney movie “Ralph Breaks The Internet.”

From memorial services to musical performances, animation, and more - Rendez-vous d'Amérique invites you on a journey to discover Francophone culture in America. Your host on this cultural experience is Didier Allouch - reporter, cinephile, and a familiar face on the red carpet. Click here to learn how you can subscribe to TV5MONDE and watch Rendez-vous d'Amérique!