Dear AVA friends
Very unfortunately we had to cancel all the ceremonies and events which we planned to organize for D Day 76. We will maintain wreath laying ceremonies at our monuments in Sainte Mere Eglise and La Fiére with a limited number of people. Since June 6th 1945 this is the first time that the D Day celebrations are cancelled. As you may guess this is extremely sad for us.
A little bit of history :
Less than a month after the surrender of Germany my dad, then mayor of Sainte Mere Eglise, organised ceremonies to express our gratitude to the American soldiers who liberated us and a deep respect to those who got killed or wounded for our freedom. As a front line WW1 veteran and a lucky survivor he understood better than anyone how much we owed to these men.
Our town was the first in France to celebrate the 6th of June. In the following years we were blessed to meet many of these valiant partroopers from the 82nd and 101st Airborne who landed on June 6th. Among them : Bob PIPER, Bob MURPHY, Bill TUCKER, Don LASSEN, Zane SCHLEMMER, Chaplain George WOOD, O B HiLL, John STEELE, Bill SULLIVAN and many others. They were our HEROES, they became our BROTHERS.
I have so many fond memories of all the things we did together. It was always a joy to spend time with them in France or in United States. In 1963 my dad was guest of honor of the 101st Airborne veterans association in San Francisco. I went with him and we toured USA from East to West. We met many Veterans during this trip. They were so friendly to us. We invited
them to come back to Normandy and they did ,year after year. To day they are not with us anymore and we miss them so much.
May I quote a verse from a poem written in 1974 by Simone Renaud, my mother and founder of the AVA association, titled " They came down on our Norman land "
Glorious are those soldiers, those heroes, those friends
Who have come to a foreign land
Bringing with them hope and peace and light
To the dead and to those still alive after a ghastly war
France still shouts – we thank you, merci
We DON'T FORGET