Dear Friends and Members of FRIENDS OF AMERICAN VETERANS ASSOCIATION (AVA),
The events organized this year by our Association went very well.
May 31st : Dinner with local families for the US Paratroopers.
June 2nd : Ceremonies were held at the Alexandre Renaud Monument as well as the AVA Airborne Monument; both on the square of Sainte-Mère-Eglise.
A beautiful Memorial Service was held in the Church of Sainte-Mère-Eglise with the 82nd Color Guard and the All Airborne Chorus along with an excellent performance by the local chorus.
We gave a cocktail party at the City Hall for about 250 people including the daughters of famous WW2 General James GAVIN, Mrs. Chloe Beatty and Mrs. Line Lewis, along with Mrs. Susan Eisenhower, General (Ret.) Jack Nicholson and Mr. Jeff Stoffer, Editor of the American Legion Magazine.
June 4th : The AVA hosted the Liberty Banquet with more than 900 people in attendance.
The Navy Band played the National Anthems followed by a Military Dutch Band. The audience gave an enthusiastic reception as they watched the great show of the ALL AMERICAN CHORUS OF THE 82ND AIRBORNE.
About a dozen WW2 Veterans were our guests, including Ralph TICCIONI, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, returning to Europe for the first time since 1944.
We were honored by the exceptional participation of Generals :
- General Mark MILLEY, the 39th Chief of Staff of the Army.
- General John NICHOLSON, Commander in Chief of all Forces in Afghanistan.
- General Stephen TOWNSEND, Commanding the XVII Corps Airborne.
- General Richard CLARKE, Commanding the 82nd Airborne Division.
- British General LEARMONT, detached with the 82nd Airborne.
- French General Olivier TRAMOND (Ret.) Commander of the Légion d’Honneur.
June 5th : About 500/600 jumps were made in the morning over La Fière from 4 C130 planes coming from Fort Bragg and 2 C-47 1944 Vintage Planes.
Following the jumps was the afternoon ceremony on our AVA Memorial Site (Iron Mike) at La Fière with a Military parade and the attendance of the Honor Guard of SAINT CYR, the French Military School.
Afterwards, the Légion d’Honneur was awarded to Veteran Ralph TICCIONI, Mrs. Susan EISENHOWER and General John NICHOLSON and we proceeded with the signature of the tripartite agreement between the American Legion, the Town of Sainte-Mère-Eglise and our Association, the AVA.
This agreement guarantees the preservation and the conservation of the Paratroopers Memorial site in perpetuity.
For our Association, this is the most significant and historic event of the year. You can read the text of this agreement on this page.
A parachute of handmade sunflowers were placed on the hallowed ground there (an idea implemented by Mrs. Michelle Coupey and helped by Michel Lecathelinais), caught the eye of the spectators. It involved a group of children and will be put back in place when the Tour de France race comes through Sainte-Mère -glise at the end of the month. If you watch TV at that time, you will be able to see it.
We are doing our best to keep the flame of friendship between France, Normandy and the United States of America alive with the utmost respect and gratitude for the American WW2 Veterans who liberated us.
Airborne all the way
God Bless America.
Amis des Veterans Americains- Sainte Mere Eglise –