More than 240 years after France forged a historic military alliance that resulted in the birth of the United States, and nearly 75 years since the U.S. joined the Free French to liberate Paris from Nazi occupation, the First Alliance Foundation was officially unveiled last week to honor and strengthen the relationship with America and its oldest friend in the world.
The mission of First Alliance, a private nonprofit foundation, is to commemorate the strategic alliance between France and the U.S. and to advance the goals of its military leaders.
“It is fitting and timely that we do this, as we are approaching the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Paris [next August],” said the Honorable Carole L. Brookins, who launched First Alliance earlier this year and announced its formation at a reception at Washington DC’s Army-Navy Club.
Current events reflect the work of the First Alliance as well as history. Along with being a faithful ally in World Wars I and II, France has assisted the U.S. in peacetime as well.
In August, 2013, as the U.S. was poised to bomb Syria to thwart that country’s chemical weapons program, French President Francois Hollande left no doubt to the world his country would assist in the mission — even as the United Kingdom and many longtime U.S. allies took a powder (at the last minute, U.S. President Barack Obama opted against the Syrian bombing)
Brookins, a past U.S. executive director of the World Bank, has assembled a star-studded board for the new group from the French and American military and business communities.
Among the board members of First Alliance are Lieutenant General Olivier Tramond, Dr. Richard Sandor, CEO and founder of the American Financial Exchange, Lawrence Goodman CEO and founder of The Center for Financial Stability.
Among those on First Alliance’s Senior Advisory Board are Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and head of the Eisenhower Group, international consultant Tony Culley-Foster, U.S. Army Lieutenant Generals, Ret. David Huntoon and Mick Kicklighter, and Vice Admiral Scott van Buskirk.
Long gone, but clearly present at the announcement of the First Alliance, were two towering figures who are virtual symbols of the friendship of France and the U.S.: Dwight Eisenhower and Charles DeGaulle. Susan Eisenhower hushed the crowd when she recalled how “both my grandfather and DeGaulle were great generals of World War II who later served as presidents of their countries. And they were friends. When my grandfather died in 1969, President DeGaulle came to the funeral in his World War II uniform and saluted when he passed the casket. It is a something I will never forget.”
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