That’s the original Olivier Blanchard up there – my grandfather and namesake – in 1915 Paris, shortly after joining the French cavalry and just days before being sent off to fight the Germans. Cavalry units still rode actual horses during World War 1. They charged with lances and sabers. Sniper rifles and machine guns were still new. Tanks and combat aircraft were just beginning to emerge. Germany hadn’t yet deployed chlorine gas around the Ypres salient.
That kid fought in the trenches and endured horrors of war that we cannot imagine today. He went on to survive combat not only in World War 1 but in World War 2. He never talked about any of it, but his medals told us all we ever needed to know.
Millions weren’t as lucky as he was. Not everyone comes home whole, if at all.
Here’s to our veterans. All of them.
PS: Buy a vet a drink today. Or better yet, hire one.
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A little bit of family pride: 3 Generations of Blanchard military officers