- The Washington Times - Friday, February 2, 2007

An American hero

An American hero of World War II won eloquent thanks and a champagne salute at a celebratory dinner the other night from America’s oldest ally.

Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France pinned the Chevalier insignia of the Legion of Honor, France’s most prestigious award, on the lapel of James Sheeran of West Orange, N.J. With it came a graceful tribute and an accounting of a hero’s deeds.

“I want to pay tribute on behalf of France to a great American patriot,” the ambassador said, “and to a son of France.” Mr. Sheeran, now a frail 84, is the father of Josette Sheeran, the new director of the U.N. World Food Program and former undersecretary of state, and onetime managing editor of The Washington Times.

Surrounded by his son, four daughters and several grandchildren, Mr. Sheeran, once the mayor of West Orange and then an official of the state of New Jersey, heard the ambassador describe his exploits as a paratrooper as “an extraordinary story that is much better than a Steven Spielberg movie.”

Indeed. As a 21-year-old trooper of the 101st Airborne Division, Mr. Sheeran jumped into Sainte-Mere-Eglise early on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and was captured a few hours later in the fighting among the hedgerows. He was sent on a prisoner train bound for Germany. He jumped off the moving train and headed for what he thought was the Swiss border. He joined a patrol of the French Resistance and, with his buddy Bernie Rainwater, fought with the Resistance and was hidden for a month by a French family in the village of Domremy, where his father, an American soldier in World War I, had met the French girl who became Jim Sheeran’s mother.

He rejoined his regiment and, disdaining a return to the United States, fought again at the Remagen bridge and in the Battle of the Bulge during Christmas 1944, where he was severely wounded.

Choosing sides

Washington revolves around politics — even on Super Bowl Sunday.

Unlike other television viewers across the country, Washingtonians will be dealt politics with their football during Sunday’s Super Bowl XLI, when a $91,000, 30-second spot will air protesting President Bush’s plan to send 21,500 additional U.S. troops to Iraq.

Why just this TV market?

VoteVets.org chairman and Iraqi war veteran Jon Soltz explains that the ad is aimed at “the power players in the Capitol, as well as the constituents of -Sen. John W. Warner, who we hope will join with Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Joseph R. Biden Jr. in backing the strongest possible resolution against escalation of the war.”

He says the ad will make it clear — “either you are with the president or you are with the troops.”

Apparently the spot doesn’t take into account the tens of thousands of U.S. troops who support the president.

Play on words

“It’s probably too much to say that the POTUS (president of the United States) and FLOTUS (first lady) met with corporate heavyweights on the problem of childhood obesity. But that’s pretty much what happened.”

Or so reads yesterday’s White House pool report about the presidential meeting on child fitness, which executives from McDonald’s, Kellogg Co. and Pepsico Inc. attended.

Talk about perfect timing: McDonald’s announced this week that after years of testing, the fast-food giant finally has discovered a healthier, canola-based, trans-fat-free oil in which to deep-fry its french fries.

Foreign fads

A pair of Republican congressmen couldn’t believe it when Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, in issuing one opinion, cited the laws of Zimbabwe — “that bastion of human rights.”

Reps. Tom Feeney of Florida and Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia are preparing to introduce the Reaffirmation of American Independence Resolution, advising federal courts not to cite foreign law when interpreting U.S. law.

“Increasingly, the Supreme Court justices have relied upon numerous foreign sources,” note the congressmen, citing the European Union, European Court on Human Rights, and courts in countries stretching from Jamaica and India.

In theory, the congressmen say the “unelected justices” are relying on “foreign laws, constitutions, cultures, fads or social mores.”

-John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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