Legion of Honor

John McCaslin
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Posted: Nov 07, 2007 10:19 AM
Legion of Honor

French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid a brief sentimental stop yesterday afternoon at the French ambassador's residence in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington to pin the Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur, his nation's highest decoration, on the chests of seven American soldiers from World War II, to whom he delivered "the gratitude of a grateful nation."

"If there is peace today in Europe," he said, "it is because of you."

The French president, who sometimes wears his admiration for America on his well-tailored sleeve, told them: "You did your duty, and we will never forget what you did for France."

The seven included Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, an American of Japanese ancestry, and Mr. Sarkozy noted that he was a leader of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up only of Japanese-Americans, who had been uprooted from their homes and sent to internment camps in California, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming and Arkansas.

Each of the other men — James Hill of Elora, Tenn.; John Kerner of San Francisco; Henry Langrehr of Clinton, Iowa; Bernard Rader of Freeport, N.Y.; Charles Shay of Old Town, Maine; and George Thompson of Milton, Mass. — got not only a medal, but also the traditional kiss on both cheeks. But it was only an air kiss. And then they joined their families and a few friends for a glass of champagne. Nothing domestic, naturally.

Yankee IDs

It was only a matter of time before a lawmaker, in this case Rep. Tom Latham, Iowa Republican, introduced legislation reinforcing that states should not issue driver's licenses or other government-issued photo identification to illegal aliens.

The bill, offered yesterday, follows a groundswell of public outrage over a recent announcement by New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer that would have allowed licenses or other forms of government IDs to be issued to illegal aliens in his state.

Given the outcry, Mr. Spitzer, a Democrat, quickly backpedaled on the proposal, which Mr. Latham views as rewarding "illegal behavior with government recognition."

Fiscal discipline?

There was more embarrassing news yesterday for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) announced that the new Democratic majority, and in a record-setting way, isn't living up to its promise of "fiscal discipline."

"Though House Democrats each called for an average of $731 million in savings, this offsets 0.2 percent of their spending-hike bills, resulting in a net agenda of $470.1 billion — the highest level over the past nine Congresses," says the NTUF.

Teddy to Tutu

South Africa's post-apartheid architect, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will be the honored guest Friday evening as the Washington National Cathedral continues its centennial celebration by awarding the Nobel Peace laureate its first-ever Cathedral Prize for Advancement in Religious Understanding.

Grammy Award-winning vocalist Aaron Neville is scheduled to perform at the black-tie gala, along with the Washington National Cathedral choir.

It was 100 years ago that Bishop Henry Yates Satterlee laid the foundation stone for the cathedral at the corner of Wisconsin and Massachusetts avenues, witnessed by a tremendous crowd of 30,000 that included President Theodore Roosevelt.

American sample

It's been 11 years since former New York Rep. Jack Kemp was the Republican vice presidential nominee, chosen to be the running mate of former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole in his long-odds bid to become president.

Tomorrow, Mr. Kemp will return to New Hampshire, this time to tell voters what the next president must do to restore America's leadership around the world.

He'll appear at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, which is bringing together a broad and diverse group of New Hampshire business, civic, political and academic leaders: Democrats, Republicans and independents who can't agree on foreign or domestic policy. In other words, a sampling of America.

Appearing with Mr. Kemp will be retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, former head of the U.S. Southern Command and White House drug czar under President Clinton.