It’s a small world – Omaha Beach to Florida to Paris

19 Aug

From http://www.dday-overlord.com/img/dday/ob/omaha_beach_barge_approche.jpgMy landlady told me this beautiful story and I had to share it.

Around 20 years ago while on holiday, my landlady and her husband befriended a couple from Florida. The two couples stayed in touch and have even been on vacation together several times.

A few years ago, the couple from Florida contacted my landlady to let her know they were taking a cruise that would stop at several points along the Northern coast of France. My landlady and her husband traveled to Normandy to meet their friends off of the ship.

The first day they met up they went to visit Omaha Beach, the sight of one of the deadliest D-Day battles. The father of the man from Florida had been a survivor of this battle and his son wanted to see the site where it had all happened.

While visiting the beach the two couples were told by another tourist that a veteran, a man who had participated in the landings, was down the path and was sharing his experiences and answering questions.  The other tourist explained that they had better hurry as the veteran looked like he might be getting ready to go.

They found the veteran and the man from Florida was able to confirm quite a lot of the details his father told him about the battle.  So many details were similar that the veteran asked about the man’s father’s name and his division. The veteran and the man’s father had been in the same boat and knew each other quite well. The veteran was able to tell him details of his father’s life in the army and specifically what his father did during the battle.

The veteran had answered some of the assembled tourists’ questions in French.  My landlady enquired where he had learned to speak French so well.  He had grown up in France, he said. Before the war, he left Paris to go to university in New York.  While he was gone, the Germans occupied Paris and he was unable to return home to Europe.  While in the US he received news that his Jewish family had been rounded up and sent to Auschwitz.  On hearing this news he asked if he could join the US Army and they agreed to let him serve.

My landlady asked, in which part of Paris did he grow up?  In the Marais. This is the area where my landlady and her husband  have lived all of their lives.  Further questions revealed, the veteran had known my landlady’s father.

French and American friends by chance meet a Omaha Beach veteran on Omaha Beach who knew both of their fathers and could bring history to life. Incredible.

[Photo credit: http://www.dday-overlord.com/img/dday/ob/omaha_beach_barge_approche.jpg]

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3 Responses to “It’s a small world – Omaha Beach to Florida to Paris”

  1. john daly August 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    We both enjoyed your e-mail and are amazed at the coincidences which followed on to make such an incredible story. Thanks for sharing and we look forward to seeing you at Annie’s show tonight. Love John and Sandra

    • Jennifer Flueckiger August 20, 2011 at 9:03 am #

      Hi John and Sandra – When I heard this story I thought I had to share it. It was great to see you last night!
      Take care and I’ll see you soon!
      Jennifer

  2. Mary Kay August 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    It seems as if everywhere I turn at the moment something brings me back to the beaches and the American Cemetery in Normandy. After I finished reading your more recent post about the fun night that you had at the bar, I thought that I would catch up on some of your other posts. I’m glad that I did because I really enjoyed your landlady’s story. If you would like to read another story about a letter written by a stranger and left on the grave of one of the soldiers in the American Cemetery, please take a look at my blog post on the American Cemetery. I’ve been in contact with both the stranger (Yvan) and the soldier’s family and the story of how they met etc has moved me like no other. If you’re looking for ideas for your book, it might make a good one.

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