The French have it all this week: 75th. Anniversary of the Allied invasion in WWII that began on the beaches in Normandy on June 06, 1944 (commonly referred to as D-Day); an American president on the continent who truly can’t stop himself from revealing his ignorance of, oh well, just about every nasty thing he finds to tweet about on an hourly basis; and the final week of the 2019 Roland-Garros tennis tournament, the second Grand Slam event of the year which finds familiar names in the men’s semi-finals and fresh faces in the women’s semis.
I am swept along by the stirring images of the American cemetery in Normandy, the stories of the amazing four women ages 92 – 99 known as the Rosies who were not only the Riveters but also the draftswomen and/or anything else needed, these four women representing all the women who worked building the planes, ships and bombs necessary for our soldiers waging a war in Europe, Africa and the Pacific. These women are in France for the D-Day Anniversary remembrance and will bring their memorie as well as their flowers for one of the crosses in the cemetery which belongs to a brother by his sister who has never had the opportunity to visit his grave. Tom Brokaw will also be on this site as he pays tribute one more time to the fallen soldiers of WWII who inspired his book in which he named them our Greatest Generation.
One of the women who wins the French Open this year will be a first time winner of a Grand Slam. The names of the four remaining women in the draw will be familiar only to those who follow women’s tennis regularly: Ash Barty of Australia, Johanna Konta of Great Britain, Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic and seventen-year-old Amanda Anisimova of the USA. These remarkable women managed to eliminate more familiar tennis names like the Williams Sisters, defending champion Simona Halep, #1 player in the world Naomi Osaka, Madison Keys, Sloane Stevens, and 108 additional competitors who fought their hardest on the clay courts but lost to better players on a given day.
The men at Roland-Garros are also down to the final four, but their names are not only familiar but famous. Roger Federer of Switzerland meets his long-time rival Spanish clay court warrior Rafael Nadal in a much anticipated semi-final match. Federer has won 20 Grand Slam tournaments to Nadal’s 17. The Serbian Novak Djokovic has 15 Grand Slam titles but came into the French as the winner of the previous three major tournaments so a win for him would put him in a category all his own. Austrian Dominic Thiem will play Djokovic in the other semi-final on the men’s side. The French got the final four men in the correct order, but who could have predicted the women’s semi-finalists? I can’t wait.
Last and definitely least, an American president trolls the international twitter space with irrelevant nonsense and makes his trip for D-Day a public relations nightmare for his staff and everyone he encounters on the other side of the Pond. I felt sorry for the Queen during his toast at the state banquet. She looked like she was wondering if her dogs would be more entertaining than this presidential impersonator from the Colonies. Poor Queen Elizabeth. And can anyone really believe the British royalty told the president to bring his whole commoner family for dinner?