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Local couples sample French culture

    This is about two Bulloch County couples who ventured into French speaking territories.
    First. Dan and Martha Foglio went to France last summer. Dan was born in Paris in 1942. He came to the U.S. at age 5. He became an American citizen at age 12. It was his first return to the land of his birth.
    They visited several icons of Paris: the Eiffel Tower, which they ascended to the top in the elevator (not working when I was there); the Sacré Coeur Church, which the French built as national penance for losing the Franco Prussian War in 1870; and Notre Dame Cathedral on the Isle de France, the island in the Seine River where France began over a thousand years ago.
    There is a geodetic marker in the front of Notre Dame which marks the geographical center of Paris. Dan stepped on it as I had done circa 1945! The exquisite Rose Window had been taken down and hidden during both WWI and WWII.
    Dan Foglio is a WWII buff. They went to the beaches where Allied troops landed on D-Day in June 1944. They saw Pointe du Hoc where our rangers climbed a sheer vertical cliff to take and hold that position.
    They saw where our paratrooper landed on a roof and played dead to avoid attack by German soldiers. And they went to the awesome American Cemetery.
    They had been in London and saw the sights there. Dan brought me a miniature souvenir of Big Ben, the landmark clock. Daughter Gina accompanied them. They rode through the “Chunnel” under the English Channel.
    Dan and Martha are energetic citizens. Dan is on the emergency committee of the Red Cross, often called in the middle of the night to help families burned out. He was named Kiwanian of the Year. He is a vice commander of American Legion Dexter Allen Post 90.
    They lent me their large photo album of their travels in France and London, England. I could relate to many of the scenes pictured in the album.
New France
    Dr. and Mrs. Del Presley visited the French Canadian City of Quebec after many months of research, interviews, travel and writing our definitive history of Georgia Southern named the “Southern Century.”
    It was a much needed vacation for Del and Beverly after they had put the book to bed and now the book is off the press and will be available for purchase in time for the Centennial Celebration of Georgia Southern.
    They went to Quebec City as travelers not as tourists. The Province of Quebec is officially bilingual but is over 90 percent French speaking.
    Quebec City is capital of Quebec Province. The capital of Canada is Ottawa, Ontario. Canada is independent but with close ties to Great Britain.
    In 1535, Jacques Cartier became the first European to explore the St. Lawrence River up to the Charles. In 1608, Samuel de Champlain set up a fortified wooden “habitation” at what was to become Quebec City.
    The British took Quebec in 1629 but gave it back to France. Later, the British returned. In September 1759, under General Wolf with General Montcalm as defending general, they fought on the Plains of Abraham (Martin). The French lost. Both Wolf and Montcalm were killed.
    Quebec Province and the territory which Thomas Jefferson bought from France for $15 million known as the Louisiana Purchase were part of “New France.”
    In 1906, President Thomas Jefferson had a blood relative in Bulloch County known as Jefferson Randolph Anderson, who was the first chairman of trustees for the First District A & M School, which ultimately became Georgia Southern University!
    Back to Quebec City. When Beverly Presley showed me their picture of what appeared to be the gate to the Old Town with buildings and street receding into Old Town, I was amazed to learn that it was a really huge mural, painted to give an optical illusion!
    Finally, Dr. Presley remarked that La Musée de Civilization in Quebec City expressed their sense of time and place, preserving their unique heritage which, in many respects is what we do in the American South. They felt at home there, he said.
December 7
    Reminder. Friends of GSU Henderson Library Fund Raiser begins at 6:30 p.m. at Gallery 33, West Main St. Tickets $20. Call 681-5115.
    Dec. 7. Pearl Harbor Day. Lest we forget. Lest we forget.

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