The Rockford Files

War Is Hell on the Homefront, Too

Depending on whether you like them thin and greasy or thick and meaty, the two best purveyors of french fries in Rockford are Uncle Nick’s Gyros on East State Street and Altamore’s Ristorante on North Main.  Neither the mythical Uncle Nick nor the very real Alberto Altamore, I’m happy to report, has fallen prey to pro-war correctness and renamed his potatoes “freedom fries.”  While the Rockford contingent of David Frum’s “unpatriotic conservatives”might be expected to continue munching happily away on the “surrender monkey” spuds, an amazing number of patriotic Rockfordians also seem willing to set aside their deepest convictions when it comes time to get their fix of salty carbohydrates.

Rockford and, indeed, the entire Upper Midwest have been through this before.  (I was going to write “Plus ça change,” but I wouldn’t want to give the girly-boys at National Review any more ammunition.)  Despite having the largest population of Germans in the United States, the Upper Midwest fell prey to anti-German hysteria in World War I and World War II, and hundreds of streets, buildings, and even towns were renamed.  Here in Rockford, Berlin Avenue became Rockford Avenue; Berlin, Michigan, 20 miles east of my hometown, became Marne.  (Rumor has it that the Marne city council is now considering punishing the French...

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