On my first visit to France (in 1996), I’m in a bank waiting for my wife to do some currency exchange when an older French gentleman walks up to me and asks (in fairly decent, but heavily French-accented English) if I’m an American.
I tell him yes I am, and he shakes my hand vigorously and proceeds to thank me and all Americans for saving him and his family on D day in WW2. He showed me a very worn rubber-band-bound pocket English/French dictionary that he says he carries so that he can practice his English – so that he can be prepared for an encounter such as this.
He went on to describe how his family was rounded up into a concentration camp and as a small boy, how his father tried to calm the family, knowing they were soon likely to be gassed.
He said that the Americans storming of Normandy beach and ending the war saved his life. He can remember being pulled up from an underground room by soldiers (I’m not sure if they were Americans or not).
He said that every year as an adult, he travels to Normandy and puts on a sweater with a US flag woven into it and kisses the ground on that beach.
I couldn’t believe what was transpiring, but it made me break down and cry. My wife came over from her transaction and the story was repeated for her, with the same reaction.
I felt such a sense of pride for my country and those who have served over the years and I really felt great for this old man who continues to be thankful all those years later.
~ by HV
Please share using the buttons below.