Speech by Jean-Jacques
the French Representative of the RAFES
at the French Air Forces Club, June 1995
When you look at the sky and see an
aircraft flying over, is there a chance that you can meet the aircrew,
or hostess, or the passengers? None, absolutely none.
However, if we are all here happily together, it is because that
happened to you on a certain day during the war.
At that time we were anonymous companions in a great struggle for
freedom. Thereafter we became friends because you created the RAFES and
expanded its membership from Norway/Denmark to Poland and Greece, from
Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg to Italy and France, who nearly all
have representatives here today 'et je les salue'.
Congratulations as you made great achievements during these 50 years of
This leads me to two conclusions:-
First. That your association has always been cheerful, successful and a
well managed enterprise, a great ambassador of your country. You have
decided that your Society has reached the age of retirement. We should
not be sad about it. Everyone retires, but the nice links so created
remain - and will remain.
The second conclusion is a little longer. In this room we have known the
ghastly destruction of war, the death of companions. But we can say
after half a century that peace is the greatest accomplishment of our
war-scarred generation. It is is the best present we can give to those
Peace among nations, as amongst individuals, is not a free gift of God.
Each one among us must constantly work at it. If we strive to accept
differences as a source of enriching diversity instead of conflicts, we
will secure indeed that brighter future of which we dreamed in those
dark days, long ago, and feel closer to each other.
Closer! In fact, did you realize that when you took the Eurostar Shuttle
how, 50 years after, Europe - from London to East Germany - is now
becoming a single entity with common aims and pleasant people to meet?
Let us continue to work
That was the second message I wanted to convey.
It comes with renewed and joyful gratitude for the warm and so faithful
friendship you have always given to all your Helpers in the various
countries on so many occasions, and none more moving than today.