Commemorations of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in the Midwest
June 4-7, to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy, and to pay tribute to the heroes of WWII, the Consulate General of France took part part in several events around the Midwest.
The French Legion of Honor medal was officially presented by Consul General Guillaume Lacroix to three D-Day Veterans. The honorees were Mr. Richard Southern, 95, of Centerville, Iowa, Mr. Donald Cobb, 94, of Evansville, Indiana and Mr. Alvin Perry, 95, of Wilmore, Kentucky.
Consul General Lacroix was also a guest of honor on the occasion of the largest reunion of WWII Kentucky Veterans in the State’s history. Some 120 former servicemen gathered at the Louisville Memorial Kentucky on June 6 for "Operation Bravo Zulu."
Several commemorative events also took place in Springfield, Illinois. Deputy Consul General of France Frédéric Cholé participated in the grand opening of the exhibit "The Greatest Generation Remembers WWII", and in a flag raising ceremony at the Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library. He also delivered remarks during a remembrance ceremony at the Illinois World War II Memorial at Oak Ridge Ceremony.
Finally, WWII Veteran Paul E. Wirth of Louisville, KY, was awarded the French Legion of Honor by President Macron during the official ceremonies at the American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy. He was among the five veterans to receive this distinction that day.
Consul General of France Guillaume Lacroix officially presented the French Legion of Honor medal to WWII Veteran Richard C. Southern, 95.
Mr. Southern landed at Omaha Beach with the 1st Division in the early hours of June 6, 1944. He participated in the battle of Normandy, and in the Northern France and Rhineland campaigns. During his service he was an anti-tank gunner, a radio operator, an ammunition bearer, and truck driver.
"America came to the French people’s rescue, and to Europe’s rescue, on two occasions in the 20th century," said Consul General Lacroix. "On the 75th anniversary of D-Day will also be a moment of remembrance."
"I got a lot of stories to tell. I had a lot of bad times and had a lot of good times. Of course, the bad times is nothing too bad anyway," said Southern.
WeAreIowa.com - By Jacob Peklo - Posted: Jun 04, 2019 10:19 PM CDT - Updated: Jun 04, 2019 10:19 PM CDT
KTVO News - by Asia Mitchell-TabbThursday, June 6th 2019
Daily Iowegian - By Kyle Ocker.
Deputy Consul General Frédéric Cholé attended the grand opening of the exhibit "In This Great Struggle: The Greatest Generation Remembers WWII" at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.
Deputy Consul General Cholé and Carla Knorowski, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation Chief Executive Officer.
I’m proud to attend the opening ceremony of a terrific WWII exhibition honoring the Greatest Generation," Frédéric Cholé.
Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Consul General of France Guillaume Lacroix officially presented the French Legion of Honor medal to WWII Veteran Donald R. Cobb, 94. The ceremony was held on board the LST-325, the last fully operational WWII Landing Ship Tank (LST).
Mr. Donald Cobb, a radio operator on board the U.S.S Murphy, participated in the D-Day Landings in Normandy and Southern France.
"This is Donald Cobb. He lives in Evansville, Indiana. He was 19 when he landed at Omaha Beach. He received today the Legion of Honor, France’s highest distinction. Mr. Cobb served his country and saved my country. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Sir! Thank you Indiana!" Consul General of France Lacroix.
Consul General Lacroix, Donald Cobb, and Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.
Other dignitaries in attendance also included Consul of Canada Daniel Tremblay, Deputy Consul General of Great Britain Maria Rennie, Consul General of Greece Ekaterina Dimakis and Commander Guido Meijer, Royal Navy Netherlands.
Casting of the Wreath - Floral Tribute by the 12 Countries: An Honor of All Who Have Fallen.
Tristate News by Jack Boswell, June 6, 2019.
WNIN News by Isaiah Seibert - June 6, 2019
Following the ceremony in Evansville, Indiana, Consul General Lacroix participated in "Operation Bravo Zulu," the largest reunion of WWII Veterans in the state of Kentucky’s history. The event, which was held at the Louisville Memorial Auditorium, gathered over 120 Veterans.
"Without the sacrifice of American’s Greatest Generation, without the support of the men and women of this great country, France would no longer be what it is today: a free, independent and democratic country, and a true ally of America and the western world." Consul General Lacroix.
Consul General Lacroix with Heather French Henry, former Kentucky Veterans Affairs Commissioner.
Consul General Lacroix with Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton.
Deputy Consul General Frédéric Cholé raised the French flag during a special Flag Raising ceremony at the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. He also paid homage to WWII Veteran Charles Sehe who participated in the D-Day landing in Normandy on board the U.S.S Nevada.
Mr. Cholé also offered some remarks at the Illinois World War II Memorial at Oak Ridge during a remembrance ceremony organized by the WWII Illinois Veterans Memorial Board.
Deputy Consul General Cholé and WWII Veteran Charles Sehe.
Flag raising ceremony.
Deputy Consul General Cholé with WWII Veteran Gerald "Jerry" Raschke, who has been awarded the French Legion of Honors in 2017 for this participation in the liberation of France.
WWII Veteran Alvin Perry, 95, was officially presented the French Legion of Honor by Consul General Lacroix for his participation in the Liberation of France.
During the Second World War, Mr. Perry served with the 331st Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division. He landed at Omaha Beach on June 18, 1944 and participated in the battle of Normandy. On July 19, he was shot during combat and captured. He will spent a total of 10 months in a prisoners camp in Germany.
"I speak behalf of the dead, and the generations to come in France, Lacroix said. "We will never forget, we will never forget your sacrifice."
"It is very important for the French government to recognize every individual," Lacroix said. "Through the individuals, we recognize the community."