Tuesday, April 21, 2015

French Foreign Legion Museum

French Foreign Legion Parade Ground
Aubagne France

The French Foreign Legion was founded in 1831 by King Louis Phillipe of France.  It would take undesirables off the streets and put them on the frontline of the French colonial empire.  The Legion's Latin motto "Legio Patria Nostra" means (roughly) "the Legion is our home".  The French Foreign is still going strong to this day with a strength of around 8,000 men with bases in France and on Corsica.

Legio Patria Nostra
The Legion is our Home
The Legion celebrates Camerone day in honor of a desperate bayonet charge that was made in Mexico on April 30, 1863.  Napoleon III had sent the Legion in support of the doomed Emperor Maximilien, his puppet ruler of Mexico.  Maximilien would be shot twice; once by a Mexican firing squad and again by Edouard Manet.

Legionnaire in Mexico

The Legion suffered its highest casualty rate in the French Indochina war of the 1950s.  Legionnaires fell like flies at the trap of Dien Bien Phu.

Aubagne, FR
In our work, America Invades (www.amzn.com/1940598427), we noted that Americans have also served with honor in the French Foreign Legion...

"Americans had also volunteered for the French Foreign Legion, and it’s worth mentioning here some of the better-known names that have been linked to the legion over the decades:

John F. “Jack” Hasey, CIA
Peter Julien Ortiz , one of the most decorated US marines of WWII, OSS, actor in John Ford’s Rio Grande
William Wellman, director of the legion epic, Beau Geste, and many more
Alan Seeger, poet (see Rendezvous with Death below)
Arthur Bluethenthal, member of College Football All-American Team from Princeton, pilot killed in WWI
Eugene Bullard, first African American military pilot
Norman Kerry, actor

Cole Porter told many of his friends that he had joined the French Foreign Legion, though conclusive evidence is lacking. The lyrics for “War Song,” written for the London stage during World War I have been attributed to Cole Porter ...

And when they ask us, how dangerous it was,
Oh, we’ll never tell them, no, we’ll never tell them.
We spent our pay in some cafe,
And fought wild women night and day.
’Twas the cushiest job we ever had.
And when they ask us, and they’re certainly going to ask us, The reason why we didn’t win the Croix de Guerre,
Oh, we’ll never tell them, oh, we’ll never tell them,
There was a front, but damned if we know where.

(Source: A Fine Romance, Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, David Leahman, 2009, www.amzn.com/0805242503)

Legionnaires in Film

The French Foreign Legion has been celebrated in fiction and in film from Beau Geste to Laurel and Hardy comedies.

The most famous poem of this legendary unit was written by the American poet Alan Seeger...

Rendezvous with Death

I HAVE a rendezvous with Death  
At some disputed barricade,  
When Spring comes back with rustling shade  
And apple-blossoms fill the air—  
I have a rendezvous with Death          
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.  
It may be he shall take my hand  
And lead me into his dark land  
And close my eyes and quench my breath—  
It may be I shall pass him still.   
I have a rendezvous with Death  
On some scarred slope of battered hill,  
When Spring comes round again this year  
And the first meadow-flowers appear.  
God knows 'twere better to be deep   
Pillowed in silk and scented down,  
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,  
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,  
Where hushed awakenings are dear...  
But I've a rendezvous with Death   
At midnight in some flaming town,  
When Spring trips north again this year,  
And I to my pledged word am true,  
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

The Museum of the French Foreign Legion can be found in Aubagne -- a town in Provence near Marseilles.  Here is their web site...http://samle.legion-etrangere.com/modules/info_seul.php?id=58

Marco Kelly
French Foreign Legion Museum
If college and rugby plans don't work out for my son...there is always the Legion!

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's 
first book, America Invades here...www.americainvades.com or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427

Many Italians also served in the French Foreign Legion.  You can learn more in Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World here...http://store.italyinvades.com/products/italy-invades
or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598729

Order the full Italy Invades Package here...http://store.italyinvades.com/products/italy-invades-gift-package

1 comment:

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