Pas Oublié – Not Forgotten

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What anniversaries do you remember?

Hard on the heart to remember is June 6, 1944—D Day—but an anniversary not to be forgotten. 

Easier to recall is my memory of June 1987. We were stationedin Paris, France and invited to spend a weekend with friends at their mountain home in La Brigue, near the Italian border.

Coincidentally, and unbeknownst to us, our visit to this picturesque alpine village, coincided with the anniversary of American troops landing in Menton and Ventimiglia to begin the liberation of France during World War II.

Remarkably, still living in La Brigue were men and women who had experienced the occupation and liberation of their village. News quickly spread of the arrival of an American naval officer and his family. In the morning, as we walked to market with our French hosts, we noticed three elderly women sitting on a bench.As we came into view, they eagerly motioned for us to come near. A bit embarrassed, our friends tried to explain they were just harmless old busy bodies, but asked if we would be so kind as to humor them with a short visit. What happened next is a moment I will cherish as long as God grants me memory.  

As our friends made the customary introductions, the women stood one-by-one to thank and embrace my husband with kisses of adoration. At first, we were a bit confused, but with the interpretation assistance of our friends, slowly began to understand what all the fuss was about.

The women had been waiting, long before the opening of the market, in hopes of seeing us and personally being able to thank my American military husband for what our country had done for them so many years earlier. 

With tears they shared stories surrounding the day of liberation, repeatedly stoking my husband’s arm, thanking him for coming.As we bid them farewell and resumed our walk toward the market, a little girl ran up to us. She breathlessly explained to our hosts that she had to talk to us. Her grandmother was not able to come, but had sent her to find us and give us a gift. As introductions were made, the she reached out, took my hand and pressed into it a gold silk handkerchief, neatly tied and filled with lavender. As I accepted the gift, she performed a little courtesy, then turned and quickly ran away. 

Overwhelmed with such an outpouring of appreciation, and humbled to be the recipient of such praise and thankfulness, I blotted the unchecked river of tears from my chin, and swelled with  pride of country and for being a military wife.

Do you have a D-Day memory or story to tell? Be sure to share it with others during this 75th anniversary of the military invasion that helped to WWII and preserve the life and liberty and freedom we enjoy today.

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Penny L. Hunt

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