I work on the third floor above Garrison Avenue in Fort Smith, Arkansas and I sometimes tease that the history is so rich that occasionally I hear 100 year old gunfire on the sidewalk below me.
Think, though, what it must be like to find a tank under the street of an old city.
Council workers came across the M5 tank as they carried out routine repairs to the road in Chartres, 55 miles south-west of Paris. It is thought the tank from the 31st Tank Battalion formed part of the invasion force that liberated France from the Nazis more than six decades ago.
This relic — an actual powerhouse of a weapon that symbolizes freedom — is surely a reminder that Americans in the last century were heroes in Europe. I wonder…can we elect leaders who can restore good will around the world? Can we negotiate peace and practice diplomacy? The idealist in me hopes so.
The realist in me understands that Americans were heroes in World War II Europe because tanks like the one buried underneath a 21st Century street rolled through Nazi-occupied towns. American power, bold battle offensives, American blood. That’s what won the peace in World War II.
The skeptic in me now wonders if comparisons between World War II and Iraq are even appropriate. Probably not.
Perhaps the M5 tank is a symbol imploring Americans to use force judiciously.