Shut out in Normandy, France, because of U.S. shutdown

    It’s been on his “bucket list” for as long as he can remember, but because of the U.S. government shutdown, 53 year old Robert D. Fox and his wife Nancy Astor Fox, have been shut out of the cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. 

    I am 53 years old. I love my country and the freedoms it provides. I revere our Constitution that guarantees those freedoms and perpetuates the only multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-racial democracy in world history.

    The term “bucket list” has become cliché. But a year ago I planned to fulfill an item on my list — a trip to Normandy to honor those who, as Lincoln said, “have given the last full measure of their devotion” to uphold these principles.

    It is Saturday, October 5th, and I’m in Normandy, but I cannot visit the cemetery at Omaha Beach, because our government is shut down. I am disappointed, of course, but any small loss personally is immeasurable against the losses of our heroic soldiers and their families then and now.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    I fear the real loss, however, is the loss of the very principles we fought to preserve almost 70 years ago: a democracy of majority rule where the rule of law remains sacrosanct.

    Seventy years ago we vanquished demagoguery and fascism. As I stand behind the closed gates of our treasured memorial to our greatest generation, I feel saddened deeply that we have dishonored our past and imperiled our future.

    Robert D. Fox, a Merion, Pa., resident, and the managing partner of Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP, the environmental law firm based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., wrote this note from France on Oct. 5.

    This letter was received via Sharla Feldscher Public Relations in Philadelphia.

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal