french veteran

Eugene Bullard was the only black combat pilot on the Allies side in World War One. Born in Georgia, he fled to Scotland as a boy to escape racial discrimination, before eventually settling in Paris, France where he worked as a boxer. He served in the First Regiment Foreign Legion. He transferred to the Aviation department and served in the Lafayette Flying Corps, a designation of pilots made up of American volunteers. When the United States official joined the War Eugene was unable to serve in their number due to a whites only policy on combat pilots. He continued to serve under the French flag instead.

After the war he became a drummer and manager at a night club called ‘Le Grand Duc’ in Paris. At the request of the French government he used his night club as a cover to spy on Germans who visited, as Bullard was a German-speaker.

During the German invasion of France Bullard again volunteered and served in the defense of Orleans before being wounded in combat. He fled the country with his daughters to Spain, eventually booking passage to New York.

During his time in France he was awarded fifteen military decorations, he was made a chevalier of the Legion d'honneur, and was nicknamed 'The Black Swallow of Death’ for his skills as a combat pilot.

In the US he puttered through obscurity, spending the rest of his life operating an elevator at Rockefeller Center. He was famously beaten by police and rioters during the Peekskill Riot which left him with chronic back injuries for the rest of his life.

He passed away of stomach cancer at 66 years of age. 

Phoenix’s new album Ti Amo drops in a week, and it’s going to be a whole lot of fun, judging from what we’ve heard off of it so far. The French veterans say that their new ful length is inspired by summer and Italian disco. Goodbye Soleil follows on prior reveals J-Boy and the album’s title track. It’s a sun drenched slice of dreamy electronica and synthpop. Phoenix is really indulging in the French house aspect of their music with their recent releases. Goodbye Soleil quickly reminds me of M83′s recent album Junk and Daft Punk’s lighter, airier fare. Ti Amo will be out June 9th via Glassnote Records.

@ashfromthephoenix wants me to answer these questions so!

3. Have you ever adopted a character or gotten a character from someone else?

nope. theyre all born from my head :P

11. Is there any OC of yours you could describe as a “sunshine”?

Nathaniel. Very goody two shoes, likes being positive and spreading good feelings. He’s very good at heart, loves listening to people and laughing and having a genuinely good time. He’s bright and radiant, always smiling. “none of your ocs are ‘sunshine” ha binch you thought

23. Introduce OC that has changed from your first idea concerning what the character would be like?

Nathaniel again. He’s gone through about 3 major style/origin changes, but he’s finally settled into his final, true self lol. He was originally a french war veteran. Then he became an American teenager with plans to join the army. Then he became a trans American teenager who works on his parents farm lol. That’s the final, permanent version of Nate :P 

26. Have you ever had to change your OC’s design or something else about them against your will?

Never against my will, no. I’ve made changes to some ocs where I thought their design just wasnt working for me, but never cause I felt obligated to for some reason.

42. Which one of your OCs would be the most interested in Greek gods?

Probably Mackenzie. He’s a big nerd, so things like that are particularly interesting to him. You can bet in his pre-teens he did a fair amount of research into Greek Mythology. He’s not as familiar now that he’s 26 lol but he still knows a fair amount about them. 

thenks bro!

I’m doing some Fjarlsland related research and I’ve hit a wall. I’ve been looking into the post-colonial conflicts and how people stayed behind in increasingly hostile conditions.

The wall occurs with French Indochina and it’s infrastructure. There are many articles and interviews regarding American veterans and French or American descendants that remained, but they don’t mention the plantations, warehouses, etc.
Some of these remained active into the wars of the 60’s and 70’s but I cannot find out how. Did they cut deals with guerilla leaders, set up defense forces, or rely on the local government?

The only book I’ve found on the subject is called ‘Indochina Memoir’ by Michel Michon, however reviews state it is more about his reflections on events rather than details of the plantations he oversaw.

Does anyone have any info on this subject, or an idea of where to look?

"The truth is that Republicans failed." A conservative columnist on the GOP's capitulation to Trump.
Instead, those are the words of conservative David French, an Army veteran and conservative columnist for National Review who almost decided to mount a protest campaign against then-candidate Donald Trump last year. “No American — Democrat or Republican — should defend the expressed intent of this meeting,” he wrote. Although he never says it in the piece, French’s words are aimed squarely at conservative voters — and Republican politicians — who so far have turned a blind eye to the Trump administration’s lies and scandals. Read more

[This interview is no longer available– I happened to find it on the Wayback Machine, so I’m “archiving” it here. :D]

LA Weekly
Thursday, October 25, 2007

On the eve of its final American performance of 2007, Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter discusses the duo’s banner year, the future of the music industry and the current state of electronic music.

This Saturday night at the Vegoose Festival in Las Vegas, Daft Punk will conclude its revelatory summer American tour. Praised by both critics and fans as one of the best shows of the year – and by many as the greatest show in the history of electronic dance music – the veteran French house duo’s performances saw them perched atop a magical pyramid as a feast of effects and epiphanies swarmed from floor to rafter. L.A. Weekly recently spoke by phone with Thomas Bangalter, who, with partner Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, comprise Daft Punk.

L.A. Weekly: I’m trying to get a sense of your mindset when you converged on Los Angeles to begin rehearsals for your summer American tour. What were your goals, and what were your expectations?
Thomas Bangalter: We’ve really been on a world tour since that first show at Coachella in April, 2006. We played all summer in Europe last year, and then we played South America and Asia, and also in the fall of last year, too. And we went back to more rehearsals and then played in America, and now we end up in Vegas and then in Mexico and Australia. But it’s true that the headquarters of this tour, are, in a sense, Los Angeles, where we have our creative offices right now. So the tour has been linked to L.A. since before we played in L.A. in July. The rehearsals took place between February and April of last year, 2006, and then there were more rehearsals and more changes in L.A. between April and May of this year.

Keep reading


French veterans of the Napoleonic Wars (they all served between 1813-1815) in the one and only time they were photographed in 1858. These are the only surviving images of veterans wearing their original uniforms and insignia. 

Napoléon Bonaparte’s final defeat was the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Even after his death in 1821, the surviving soldiers of Grande Armée revered his historic leadership. Each year on May 5, the anniversary of Napoléon's death, the veterans marched to Paris’ Place Vendôme in full uniform to pay respects to their emperor. 

From the Brown University Collection.

July 1, 1916 - The First Day of the Battle of the Somme

Pictured - British troops go over the top.

For five days, more than 1,500 Allied guns had battered the German front lines on a 20-mile stretch of the Somme.  As the sun appeared overhead on the morning of July 1, thousands of British and French soldiers on the other side of the line waited for the eerie silence that meant the barrage had ceased.  A cloud of mist hovered over the battlefield.  It looked almost peaceful, but the constant explosions and screaming of shells destroyed the impression of a halcyon morning.  “It looked like a large lake of mist, with thousands of stone being thrown into it,” recollected Lieutenant W. Chetwynd-Stapleton.

The sounds of the bombardment, however ferocious, had long since faded into the background for the men waiting in the trenches.  Each man faced going over the top differently.  A double rum ration helped the more nervous achieve Dutch courage, for whatever it was worth.  The youthful, un-blooded volunteers of Kitchener’s New Army faced the imminent battle with a mixture of anxiety over the unknown, and excitement at finally getting to grips with the enemy.  Everyone sought to look calm and unperturbed next to his mates; the British system of recruiting “Pal’s Battalions” meant that volunteers were going into battle side-by-side with their peacetime neighbors, friends, and colleagues.  Veterans waited stoically.  They knew what was coming.

Ignoring the bombardment was impossible on the other side of the lines.  The endless pounding had forced every German soldier in the six divisions of Fritz Bulow’s Second Army below ground, into concrete shelters with thick ceilings.  They had protected them from otherwise certain death, but the terror and misery of living in darkened underground cellars for five days, never knowing when the roof might cave in, had driven many, especially younger recruits, totally insane.  Sometimes older German soldiers had to pummel their younger counterparts unconscious to prevent them from fleeing outside.  Unteroffizer Franz Hinkel could barely stand the mental and physical battering:

“Seven long days there was ceaseless artillery fire, which rose ever more frequently to the intensity of drum fire… The torture and the fatigue, not to mention the strain on our nerves, was indescribable.  There was just one single heart-felt prayer on our lips: “O God free us from this ordeal, give us release through battle, grant us victory; Lord God!  Just let them come!”

A veritable mountain of shell-casings left over from the British bombardment.  The British had one gun firing for every 20 meters of the line.

The plan called for British and French troops to leave their trenches at 7:30 am and cross No-Man’s Land.  The artillery barrage would move in to the German rear lines.  It was believed that almost no resistance would be left in the battered first line.  Unfortunately for the British, their artillery had failed to destroy barbed wire in No-Man’s Land, or to knock out German machine-gun nests.  Even though trench raids had confirmed this piece of worrying news in the days before the attack, few lacked confidence.  Brigade-General Rees of the 94th Brigade exhorted to his troops that they were “about to fight in one of the greatest battles in the world, and in the most just cause… Remember that the British Empire will anxiously watch your every move.  Keep your heads, do your duty, and you will utterly defeat the enemy.”

At 6:25 in the morning, the artillery worked up into a deafening crescendo for the final hour of the barrage. Even the trench mortars and machine guns joined in.  Soldiers on both sides though of home and families, but steadied themselves for a fight. The sooner the battle came, the better.  Hinkel in his dugout was ready for revenge:

“You made a good job of it you British!  Seven days and nights you rapped and hammered on our door!  Now your reception was going to match your turbulent longing to enter!”

At 7:28, two minutes before H-Hour, underground mines tunneled under the German lines and filled with TNT detonated.  The huge explosions vaporized thousands of German soldiers in an instant.  Then, at exactly 7:30, the bombardment ceased and everything was quiet for one moment.  The next sound was of officers’ whistles blowing to start of the attack.  55,000 Allied soldiers on a 16-mile front, 73 battalions, clambered out of their trenches and headed towards the German line.  Behind were another 100,000 reserves ready to exploid their successes. One British officer kicked off a football into No-Man’s Land to begin the attack.

A mine detonates under the German lines on Hawthorne Ridge on the morning of July 1.

On the southern of the battlefield, General Marie-Émile Fayolle’s French Sixth Army stepped off at the same time as their British comrades.  “Vive la France, on y va !” was the shout as they jumped the bags, moving over quickly and determinedly.  At the junction between the two Allied armies, the British and French battalion commanders reportedly went into battle arms linked.  The veteran French troops, most of whom had seen action at Verdun, swept aside the German resistance before the hour was out.  A creeping barrage of artillery had expertly covered their advance, and companies of special trench-fighters cleared out German trenches that they captured to mop-up stragglers.  French soldiers shook hands and congratulated one another as they searched German prisoners’ pockets for tasty chocolates and good-quality cigars.

The British formations immediately on the French left benefited from their ally’s skillful advance.  However, the amount of German resistance encountered was clearly more than anticipated from the very beginning.  To compensate for the lack of experience in the British New Army formations, British soldiers had been ordered to advance at a walking pace, heavily-encumbered with wire-cutters, bombs, ladders, signal flags, and sandbags for fortifying captured positions.  It weighed over sixty extra pounds on most.  To make matters worse, the artillery bombardment, for all its ferocity, had failed to cut the German barbed wire.

And the bombardment had left absolutely no chance of surprise.  The second it stopped, a high-stakes race began between the British soldiers advancing over No-Man’s Land and the German soldiers in their dug-outs.  This “race” typified all World War I battles:  if the defenders could reach their machine-guns before the attackers were on them, they could slaughter their enemies in droves.  If the attackers reached their trenches before they were out of their dug-outs, they could murder the enemy with bombs.  On July 1, 1916, the British were fated to lose.

The Battle of the Somme begins.

Single German machine-guns massacred entire British regiments as they marched, at walking-pace, in parade-like formations across up to 800 meters of No-Man’s Land.  British soldiers remembered thinking that their friends on each side had simply decided to lay down for some reason, before realizing that they had been struck by bullets.  The unthinkably target-rich environment inspired a sort of mania in German troops, some of whom laughed and called out as though they were hunting as they mowed down British soldiers.  German soldiers had to urinate on the jackets of their Maxim guns to keep them from overheating.  The results were murderous. The Tyneside Irish Brigade, moving from a reserve trench before its assault, was cut down almost to a man before even reaching its own front-line.

Fortune varied all along the battle-line.  Some officers on their own initiative had advanced their men stealthily into No-Man’s Land the night before, or went ahead at a charge instead of walking pace.  With their blood up, no quarter was given when it came to hand-to-hand combat.  Snipers picked off those left in No-Man’s Land, and German artillery fire made it a literal death-zone.  British commanders on their own side of the lines had no idea of what was going on.  Telephone lines were cut almost instantly.  Runners had to run back-and-forth across No-Man’s Land to keep the attackers in contact with command.  Doing so risked almost certain death each time, and these vital message bearers must have had an immense courage.

There were some successes.  The 36th Ulster Division,was encouraged to be fighting on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, a sacred holiday for Irish Unionists.  Cheering the old battle-cry “No surrender!”, they succeeded in capturing one of the strongest German positions at Thiepval.  Sadly, they were not reinforced and the survivors had to creep back across No-Man’s Land at night.

Thousands of British soldiers had been cut down in No-Man’s Land.  Bodies lay in uncountable piles, strewn over barbed wire. 57,470 casualties was the British cost for the day, 20,000 of them killed in action.  It is the worst day in history for the British army, with heavier casualties than in the Crimean War, the Boer War, and the Korean War combined.  To make matters worse, the Pal’s Battalions had suffered especially.  Entire villages and schools had lost their entire complement of men in a day.  The Newfoundland Battalion, attacking at Beaumont-Hamel had seen almost the entire young male population of the Dominion perish in a matter of minutes.

The Tyneside Irish advance on July 1.  Most were killed before even reaching their own front-lines.

Brave, virile battalions had been cut to pieces.  It was hard to fashion a coherent report at the end of the first day.  Some units held on to pieces of the German front-line, others had penetrated much further towards their final objectives.  Some British soldiers had advanced so far before being killed that their bodies were only found when the British army captured the area in 1918. 

Great advances had been denied to the British, chiefly because they failed to mop-up captured trenches, which allowed German soldiers to attack them from the rear.  But the battle had shocked the German army into a catatonic state at simply the sheer amount of men and firepower the Allies could throw at their lines.  Many British soldiers were bitter after seeing so many of their friends die, like Lieutenant Billy Lipscome, who angrily scrawled in his diary that “Somebody ought to be hung for this show.” 

But July 1 was not the end of the Somme.  As the battle continued, the Allies wore down their enemies through attrition, getting better and fighting the sort of “bite-and-hold” tactics that coordinated artillery and infantry, like the French had done so effectively on July 1. Only the most optimistic expected a break-through on the first day.  Instead, it was the beginning of a process that would grind the German army down piecemeal, day-by-day. The losses suffered by heroic British soldiers on the first day on the Somme were shocking, and tragic, but their sacrifices were not in vain.

Eugene Bullard (1895 - 1961) was the first African-American military pilot. Unable to join the American military services, he left the country and served in the French forces during WWI and WWII, getting married and raising a family in Paris in between. Bullard became a celebrated hero in France, but when he returned to America he was just an anonymous veteran, which in plentiful supply after WWII. He worked quietly as an elevator operator at the Rockefeller Center in New York City. With his daughters married and himself divorced since before the war, he lived alone in his apartment with his medals framed on his walls. In 1959 France made Eugene a  Chevalier of the Légion D'Honneur. While this made him minorly famous, he continued to live in relative obscurity and near-poverty in New York City until his death seven years later. Eugene Bullard was buried with full military honors in the French War Veterans’ section of Flushing Cemetery in the Queens.

Suis-je Charlie?

My French copatriots on Twitter and Facebook are, like me, shell-shocked and distraught, and posting there has proven a good way to enter into arguments with good friends and create further tension. I got to bed angry last night and woke up to the news of another two cops being shot at in my city, and the shooter escaping in the subway. As I write this, one of the cops is dead.

There’s also reports of a couple of mosques being shot at and an explosion near another one. Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far right, as will be received by the president in his office. She asks that capital punishment be reinstated.

So I thought I’d use this space to vent. Here I don’t write French and the few people who follow me are less likely to be aggrieved by what I’m about to write. I’ve been meaning to turn this Tumblr into a more personal blog for awhile anyway.

Inside and outside of France, I’ve seen Charlie Hebdo’s staff characterized both as left wing free speech heroes and right wing racist assholes. Both are probably true but tell an incomplete story.

Among the dead cartoonists were Cabu, a 77 veteran of French caricature with 60’s leftist values, mostly known for lambasting the racist, ignorant and vulgar French everyman. Wolinski was a dirty minded 81 year old anarchist. Charb was a younger, angrier, sometimes brilliant editor in chief that nevertheless let Charlie Hebdo become more and more racist under his watch. 

They’ve always been very anti-clericalists, but before reprinting the Jyllands-Posten caricatures, their bile was mostly directed at the French Catholic establishment. We have a long history of anti-clericalism in France, dating back to the enlightenment. In 1789 the revolution made all churches and clerical goods the property of the state. In 1905 when a law on the separation of church and state was voted, it was not to protect religious freedom but to protect our republic from religious power. Just last year, a lot of us felt validated in their anti-clericalism when a mostly traditionalist Catholic crowd took to the streets to protest a marriage equality bill in seriously homophobic, misogynistic and racist ways.

I myself was raised in the idea that religion was something both stupid and dangerous. I can’t say it ever really shocked anyone around me. I had to figure out through exposure to other cultures and other people that religious people are not all the same, and that anti-clericalism can be a pretext to the ugliest racism.

In the past ten years, Charlie Hebdo got caught in a vicious circle. First there was a trial that they easily won. Then their offices burned down. Now this. Each time they doubled down on the anti-Islamic drawings, each time getting a little closer to outright racism.

When Charlie Hebdo published those caricatures, right wing republican president Chirac called for moderation and caution. Not-yet-president Sarkozy, with his new brand of French right politics, jumped in and offered his support to Charlie in the honor of freedom of expression against “communautarism” (in his mouth, the tendency of certain people to affirm their identities against the great unifying, welcoming values of the Republic).

Charb and his team may have sensed a trap there but still walked right into it : the more they attacked islam, the more they validated both Islamists and right wing politicians.

When a Molotov cocktail was thrown in Charlie’s offices in 2011, they responded with this cover by Luz (one of the lucky survivors of yesterday). It’s both a great, non Islamophobic response (for once) and a terrible illustration of the vicious circle they were caught into:

“Love is stronger than hate”. It may be, but the way each side’s provocation fed each other and ended up playing to the hand of Sarkozy and Le Pen mostly proves that sometimes love and hate work in the same ways.

This week’s news before the incident were dominated by the promotional campaign of Michel Houellebecq’s new book “Soumission”, in which France elects a Muslim president in 2022. I haven’t read it, and from what I’ve gathered it’s a far less polemical book than the pitch may suggest, but in interviews Houellebecq seems to have fallen in the same trap as a lot of France’s intellectual elites : failing to account for how their supposedly well intentioned anti-clericalism is supporting a racist tidal wave. In this sense, they certainly can all claim “Je Suis Charlie”.

All of this rambling is just me trying to answer this question : am I Charlie? The best I can say is I try not to be, by rejecting the false dichotomies between freedom of speech and “political correctness”, by refusing to amalgam terrorists and an oppressed community. But when I hear a probably unrelated police siren in the street, I am reminded that I feel attacked and in a sense, I, too, am Charlie.