74th D-Day Commemoration
SAINTE MERE EGLISE, FRANCE
May 30th, HOSTED U.S. SOLDIER DINNERS
130 invitations were given by French families who were eager to host the visiting U.S. military. This annual tradition is deeply meaningful, and helps to carry on understanding of our history together.
May 31st, WREATH LAYING CEREMONY
Large crowds attended the wreath laying ceremonies at the Airborne and Alexandre Renaud Monuments in the Town Square. Speeches were given by General Scaparotti, supreme commander of Allied Forces in Europe-NATO, MG Kurilla CG 82nd, and Mayor Jean Quetier.
Sainte Mere Eglise priest performed a Memorial Service at the church, in cooperation with the 82nd ABN Chaplain. It was very moving to listen to the American National Anthem sang in French by the Marie sisters.
June 2nd, THE BANQUET OF LIBERTY
Over 800 people attended the banquet, which certainly made for an unforgettable evening and demonstration of Franco-American friendship. The U.S. Army band played the national anthems of USA, United Kingdom and France.
Attendees included: U.S. Veterans and a 97 year-old British Veteran paratrooper, sixty-five 82nd ABN men, fifty-five Rangers, thirty-six French paratroopers, and eighteen from U.S. forces in Germany. U.S. Generals were: Scaparotti, Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe NATO; Cavoli, Commanding U.S. Forces in Europe; and Kurilla, Commanding the 82nd ABN in Fort Bragg plus several other generals. French Generals included : Parlanti, General de Corps d Armée. Collet, Commanding the 11th Brigade Parachutiste. Tramond, retired.
VIP attendees included : Mrs Susan Eisenhower, Mrs Helen Patton, Mrs Chloe Gavin Beatty, Mrs Denise Rohan and Mrs Diane Duscheck, respectively National Commander and National Auxiliary President of the American Legion.
A large group of local mayors and elected politicians including Mr Marc Lefevre President of the Conseil Departemental of la Manche and of the Airborne museum. We had people coming from all over France, USA, United Kingdom, Holland, Belgium and Germany.
An outstanding gift for the U.S. Generals was received from an anonymous pastry chef in the Loire Valley. A white parachute and the AA & 101st coat of arms, entirely made of chocolate!
June 3rd, THE PARACHUTE DROP
As the town of Sainte Mere Eglise is the iconic site of the American paratroopers, tens of thousands spectators watched the parachute drop at La Fiere. Paratroopers from France, America and Romania participated.
The official ceremony was held at the Paratroopers Memorial site at La Fiére, with speeches delivered by General Scaparotti, Mrs Denise Rohan, M. Marc Lefèvre and the Mayor Jean Quetier. Transcripts are available at: www.avanormandy.org.
The 82nd Honor guard ceremony included U.S., French and German troops, and about 20 wreaths were laid at Iron Mike. The troops parade with vintage military vehicles received a accolades from the crowd in the streets of Sainte Mere Eglise.
NEXT YEAR: 2019 75th Commemoration
The 75th Commemoration 2019 banquet will be held on FRIDAY JUNE 7th, with the parachute drop and La Fiere ceremonies on SUNDAY JUNE 9th.