A gift from French President Emmanuel Macron is one that speaks to the heart of every Marine: a tree taken from the site of the 1918 Belleau Wood battle.
President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron together planted the tree, taken from the site of the historic World War I fight in northern France, in the White House garden on Monday.
“We will put in his garden because that for me is a great symbol of this long-term relationship,” Macron told Fox News on the eve of his three-day official visit to the United States.
Many battles that have a special place in Corps history will have major anniversaries in 2018.
June 1 marks the 100th anniversary of the famous Battle of Belleau Wood. It was started as an offensive by the Germans heading toward Paris, and ended three bloody weeks later with the Marines halting the Germans.
It was at that battle where legend has it that the Marines got the nickname “Devil Dogs” from the Germans for their ferocious defense.
Of everything Emmanuel Macron has accomplished in nearly a year as France’s president, the most important may be his tough-love friendship with Donald Trump.
Though Trump and Macron disagree on things like climate change and Iran, the tree was a sign of friendship between the two presidents and countries.
“(Marquis de) Lafayette came, when you decided to be a free country,” Macron told Fox News. “He came from France, he helped the United States to exist. During the First World War, during the Second World War, when we were attacked, when our liberty was attacked, thousands of your young people came here and died here for my country. That’s a story of our relationship.”
Andrea Scott is managing editor of Marine Corps Times. On Twitter: _andreascott.