Wreath Laying Ceremony in the Tarn

Every year on Memorial Day, Democrats Abroad France lays wreaths at ceremonies around France to commemorate the fallen heroes of World War II. 

From the Tarn on VE Day, Meredith Wheeler of our Toulouse Chapter sends us this moving report from the daughter of one of the OSS operatives (Sue Feldman writing about her father Herbert Shapiro).  It was read aloud in French to the gathered audience.

"Today we speak words of sacrifice and bravery.  We hold close to our hearts those we honor here.  One year ago, I traveled from the United States to come here, to the Tarn, to Castres.  I stood before this war memorial and others.  At each historic site, I passed my hands over fine stone and bronze inscriptions.  Gradually, thanks to our knowledgeable guides, facts regarding American troops partnering with French Resistance fighters in 1944 formed a unified compelling narrative.  The experience left me feeling awed and deeply proud.  I am thankful that these places are carefully identified and that the inspiring accounts of these wartime missions are maintained in a permanent way. 

On August 8, 1944 my father was one of fifteen American paratroopers who dropped onto a remote, moonlit, hilltop in the Tarn.  Their OSS mission was to join forces with the French Resistance and reclaim this land from a terrible enemy.  Two young Americans were killed in the effort; the remaining thirteen succeeded in their daring operations.

French Veterans groups, citizens of the Tarn, and dedicated others have preserved, with honor and respect, both the legacy of my father’s OSS team and that of the French Resistance.  I speak for the extended family and friends of OG Pat when I express deep appreciation for these memorial ceremonies.  May they continue to remind us of the fragile nature of freedom and security.

We dare not forget.  I bow my head along with all gathered here today."

 

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