All across the United States today, people are preparing for cookouts. (Note , I didn’t say barbecues as this has very different meanings depending on where you are in the States). There will be fireworks and flag waving and good-natured fun all around. It’s one of the days where I really miss the country of my birth.

Of course, not all of the July 4ths were quite so festive. The first few after the signing of the Declaration of Independence were rather touch and go. In fact, if not for the intervention of the French, It is unlikely there would be a United States today. In celebration, the French gave the United States the Statue of Liberty.

Over a century later, a much grown up USA was able to return the favor, and help free France from Nazi Germany. Although, I don’t know of any gestures as grand as the Statue of Liberty, I’m sure there were many smaller ones. One of those, it seems, was captured on film, an American soldier giving candy to a couple of little French girls on July 4, 1944.