Speech by Maurice Renaud at la Fière – June 4th 2017

Distinguished guests  –  dear american friends  –  ladies and gentlemen

It is altogether fitting and proper that we gather here by an airborne drop zone and under the Shadow of Iron Mike. This place is truly the gettysburg of the 82d airborne division and where the Airborne rests its soul. Just a glance at the plaque on the side will see the terrible price paid by the airborne to wrest liberty from darkness and to restore humanity to the world.

Here, 73 years ago between the 6th and 9th of June, a terrible price was willingly paid so we may sit here and enjoy the fruits of peace. Here, Bob Murphy carried the note from lt dolan to an almost overwhelmed Sgt Owens ‘’there is no better place to die‘’. Owens and his remaining few held against all odds.

Here, at 10h30 in the morning on the 9th of June, the 82d finally stormed the causeway and secured the bridgehead that led to ultimate victory. The two commanding generals, Ridgway and Gavin, took part in the battle. The narrow roadway was paved with the bodies of the 505, 507th and 325 infantry.
This place was truly airborne.All the way.

Over time, the price and the history may have been  forgotten to most but not to us – the people of Sainte-Mère-Eglise. In the early years, Bob Murphy, the first pathfinder on the ground, and his french companion Yves Tariel, returned to jump at this spot and to join the citizens of Sainte-Mère-Eglise in the annual
Remembrance. We did not forget. From that small beginning, all else has followed.

To insure this site is never forgotten and what it means for all of humanity for all time – we have recently established a permanent memorialization between the city of Sainte-Mère-Eglise, the association friends of American Veterans, AVA, and the American Legion – truly a tricolor triumvirate joined in a great and noble

Borrowing on the speech of Abraham Lincoln at the first gettysburg memorial  ‘’ We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow this ground – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our pour power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. ‘’

There is a sacred and profound basis to the motto, proven here in blood.

I salute the WW2 veterans with the utmost gratitude and respect.

Thank you, to you ,american paratroopers
God bless America

Maurice renaud