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French Commemorate Liberation of Lorraine 65 Years Ago

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#1 Steve R

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 11:26 PM

The people and local governments of the French state of Lorraine commemorated the region's liberation by American forces in mid-September, 1944 for 3 days this month. Starting with a speech by the mayor of Luneville in City Hall, the town hosted a squadron of the US 2nd Cavalry, a US honor guard, two French Army honor guard groups, about 2 dozen US veterans, over 50 French veterans reflecting the regions around the southern portion of Lorraine, numerous American family members and active duty Flag Officers from September 18th through September 20th.

Organized by the Lorraine Battle Memorial Commission and an active duty French Army Sargent Major, the city located and hosted American descendants of our victims of the fight in and around Luneville, including the Foret de Parroy, to attend the unveiling of plaques, wreath laying and other ceremonies.

We were also accompanied by close to 100 French "re-enactors" who have restored numerous jeeps, ambulances, artillery pieces, and armored cars to operating condition. The Americans were provided 2 large buses as part of a convoy that moved through Luneville, to the airfield at Chanteheux, to Embermenil, Valhey, Leintrey, and Arracourt.

In September 1944, the 79th Infantry Division initially liberated the city of Luneville, only to be met shortly thereafter with a German counterattack that massed 400 tanks. This was the largest Axis armored counterattack in France until the Battle of the Bulge according to a French Army historian and it drove the Americans out of the southern half of the city. General Patton sent the 4th Armored Division to assist in recapturing the town, which resulted in the Germans retreating into the Parroy Forest. The 79th Infantry and later the 44th Infantry fought steadily for 2 continuous weeks to drive the defenders out of the Forest. Casualties were very high.

These events are now distant for many in the US, but they are apparently still vivid for the French. Everywhere we went, friendly crowds turned out to watch the wreath laying, listen to the prayers and hear the speeches filled with remembrances and details about those days 65 years ago. Particularly touching were the large groups of elementary school children singing the Star Spangled Banner and waving our flag. The French told us that they feel it is very important for their youth to understand how much they benefited from our commitment to their freedom.

Some pictures from the events are posted and this link takes you to the biographical page of Col. Jimmie Leach, who was a young Captain commanding a company of tanks in the 4th Armored Division. Tanker Jimmie Leach; Patton's Last WWII Tank Commander Tells His Story of War and Service Colonel Leach attended all 3 days of the ceremonies and banquets and provided many details about the battles. Also posted is the schedule of events for the 3 days, as provided by the Lorraine Battle Memorial Commission.

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#2 texson66



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Posted 24 September 2009 - 02:20 AM

Thanks for posting this!
“The first lesson is that you can't lose a war if you have command of the air, and you can't win a war if you haven't.” - General Jimmy Doolittle

#3 SOAR21



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Posted 24 September 2009 - 04:50 AM

Good to see that the efforts of a generation are still not forgotten. In Band of Brothers (the book), one of the old Easy Company men (forgot who) wrote a fiery letter to the mayor of Eindhoven, who did something or another that criticized the Americans.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

#4 urqh


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Posted 24 September 2009 - 09:37 PM

you cant tease us soar ..get hunting mate.

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