The day before, the “allies” and the “occupiers” re-enacted that historic day with a battle in the streets which ended with the Allies victoriously taking back the bridge over the Marne. (See Guy’s photos posted at http://duquelu.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/lagny-et-la-bataille-du-pont-de-maunoury/#jp-carousel-9382) It was very moving as these remembrances always are.
We engaged in a conversation with an 88 year old Red Cross worker who saw the Americans arrive in 1944 to save her city. A happy, fiesty little woman, she cried relating her experiences of that day. And then took great pride in showing off the treasured US army jeep left after the war that she and her husband have restored.
He joined her, lifting the hood, explaining where the parts were found and was delighted that we, representing the Americans, came back! It is so impressive to us how deeply appreciative the French still are of the sacrifices the Allies also made during WW2. Everyone was there, many dressed in period clothing, from the young children who only know the stories they are told of the period, to those who were children then and remember clearly still. Being a part of a day to remember makes us thankful those awful battles were not fought on our lands . . . And hopeful for “never again” to be a reality.