Michael Reagan, the son of former American President Ronald Reagan, has hit out at the Obama administration for appearing not to be doing much to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
After a recent visit to Normandy where he raised the flag over the American cemetery overlooking Omaha beach and visited the Airborne Museum in Sainte-Mere-Eglise to lay the foundation stone of its new extension, he said he is disappointed that the US government seems to do little to mark the anniversary these days.
â€˜The American honour guard is being forced to pay its own airfare to Normandy this year and as for the 2014 anniversary, the last major 10 year celebration that will include surviving veterans of D-Day, that is also being neglected by the Obama administration,â€™ he explained.
He also pointed out that when he was President Bill Clinton nominated someone to be in charge of the 1994 anniversary two years in advance but currently Ombama has not done so for the 70th anniversary next year.
â€˜Iâ€™m sure President Obama will eventually find time between his never ending campaigning and his serial golf outings to choose someone to oversee the 2014 D Day anniversary events in Normandy. But it was embarrassing for me to go the Airborne Museum in Sainte-Mere-Eglise and be asked why my government doesnâ€™t care about the D-Day anniversaries,â€™ he said.
â€˜The people of Sainte-Mere-Eglise love Americans because America saved them. They will never forget D-Day. They still have a dummy of an American paratrooper hanging from their church steeple. What happened at D-Day wasnâ€™t just a movie. It was history.
â€˜If we donâ€™t talk about it, if we donâ€™t teach it, if we donâ€™t honour its anniversary, if we donâ€™t tell young people it might as well have never happened,â€™ he added.
His father served in the Army Air Forces during the Second World War but couldnâ€™t serve overseas due to his nearsightedness. But as an actor he appeared in patriotic films such as For God and Country and Zap Hero, both produced in 1943.
Michael Reagan, who is also president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation, has donated a film on the life and work of Ronald Reagan which will be shown at the museum when the â‚¬6.3 million extension opens in time for the 70th anniversary in June next year.