There will be an historic burial at Arlington National Cemetery tomorrow. The first Swiss man will be laid to rest in ground normally reserved for American military veterans.
René Joyeuse, who was born in Zurich in 1920, helped gather intelligence for Allied Forces during World War II. Joyeuse reportedly escaped to the U.S. as war broke out in Europe, but he returned and joined the French Resistance. The OSS, the precursor to the CIA, recruited him as an agent. He eventually moved back to the U.S. and with his wife raised two sons.
Caitlin Gibson wrote a really nice feature about Arlington Cemetery for us a few years ago. As she noted, most of the recent burials have been reserved for veterans of World War II and their spouses. Active-duty casualties from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan accounted for only a handful of burials each month. More than 330,000 Americans have been laid to rest at the cemetery, which covers 624 acres.
The folks at the OSS Society alerted us to Joyeuse’s story. Incidentally they throw a hell of a party every year to celebrate the history of the nation’s first human intelligence service. I went to the last one, where one of several gin martini toasts was offered to the French Reisstance. Another fun fact: Also in attendance that night…David Petraeus and a then lesser-known biographer named Paula Broadwell.