Click to see preamble.

   

 
MAY 31, 2015

WE THE PEOPLE RADIO

WE THE PEOPLE RADIO

Hour 1

WE THE PEOPLE RADIO

Hour 2

WE THE PEOPLE RADIO

WWII Normandy Project

"Honor Their Memory"

 with Ken Delfino, project originator

    About Our Guest, Ken Delfino

    allegedly_retired@colfaxnet.com

  • US Navy 1964-69 (medically retired)
  • Served wtih Amphibious Squadron V 8/64-5/66 (USS Seminole AKA-104)
  • Boat Captain, River Patrol Force, Mekong Delta, South Viet Nam 9/66-7/68
  • Employed by United Airlines 1969-2002
  • Owner of K.M.D. Trophies and Awards (Colfax, CA)
  • Kiwanian since 1987 and past president of Greater Colfax Club
  • Volunteer with Plaqcer County Sheriffs Department
  • Elected to Colfax City Council 2008-2012
  • Mayor of Colfax 2010-2011
  • Re-elected to Colfax City Council 2014
  • Recipient CA Assembly-Senate Joint Resolution Honoring Community Service
  • Favorite quote "The punishment of a man who does not involve himself in government is to be governed by worse men!" ~~Plato

 

 

 

A Project of the California-Nevada-Hawaii District of Kiwanis International Est. Sept 1995
Serving as CAL-NEV-HA Division 8 Lieutenant Governor during the 1992-93 administrative year, I was required to attend the International Convention which took place in Nice, France.  At that time, I had never had a reason to visit the European continent so my knowledge of Europe was only that which I knew of in history, and had read about or heard on the nightly news.

I asked Jean-Jacques Vitrac, an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Napa, to serve in a special capacity of International Relations Committee Chariman and set up a tour for Division 8 Kiwanians prior to the convention.  Jean-Jacques was born in Southern France and educated in Nice and Paris.  His avocation was setting up city-to-city and county-to-county business relationships between California and French cities.

On our first full day in Paris, Jean-Jacques arranged for us to visit a WWI American military cemetery in the Paris suburb of Suresnes just across the Seine River.  This was my first exposure to our American military cemeteries and monuments which are operated by the American Battles Monuments Commission (ABMC) and with cemeteries and monuments located in 24 countries.

The cleanliness of the cemetery grounds, including the markers and even the fencing surrounding the cemetery impressed me and now my interest was piqued.  A few days later, we saw another ABMC cemetery in Draguinon, (Provence Region) and while what I saw as stunning, we did not have time to stop.

In September 1995 I returned to Europe.  My flight to Paris was diverted to Brussels.  I decided to visit Bastogne.  I had done some research on the ABMC cemetery locations and knew there was one located in the Ardennes Forest so I stopped there and met Superintendent Hands Hooker who took me on a tour and gave me a brief history of ABMC in general and his cemetery in particular.  The following day, I set foot on the equally hallowed grounds of the Normandy American Cemetery located between the villages of Colleville-sur-Mer and St. Laurent-sur-Mer and above Omaha Beach.

 

It was about 4:45pm and as I approached the office, a tall uniformed gentleman came out of the office to greet me.  He was Lee Atkinson, Assistant Superintendent of the Cemetery and he was getting ready to retire the colors for the day.  He asked if I'd like to help and I agreed.

We chatted quite a bit and as we turned left at the reflecting pool to head toward the two 60-foot flagpoles, Lee told me, "You're in luck today ... Genevieve is here to help us".

I looked down the way and saw a female in a white dress suit standing at the base of one of the flagpoles.  She was Genevieve Duboscq and was from a village perhaps 30-45 minutes away.  On D-Day, half a dozen U.S. paratroopers ended up on her family's farm and they hid them from the Germans while battles raged all around them.  Lee said that she came out about once a month to help fold the flag and had always wanted one, but because the flags were government property, cemetery officials were not allowed to give them away.

I happened to have five American 3' X 5' flags with me and I asked if we could raise one for her and present it to her afterwards and there was no problem in doing that.  When we did, her highly emotional reaction told me that I needed to do something along the same line to honor our WWII veterans and the memory of those who fell in battle and thus, this project was created.

Here is the process how your club can get involved and it's been tweaked over the past almost 20 years so if you have additional idea, they will be most welcome ...

 

La Fiere statue of Iron Mike

A replica of "The Airborne Trooper" stands above the bridge at La Fiere in Normandy, where on June 6–9, 1944 members of 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment and 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, both elements of the 82nd Airborne Division, fought a fierce battle against repeated German attacks. The small stone bridge over the Merderet River was a key point for the Germans to take in order to break up the American landing at Utah Beach, while at the same time being key to the Americans so that they could expand their beachhead in Normandy. Over the course of the battle, the Germans attacked the lightly armed Americans with both infantry and armor but were never able to cross the bridge.  The monument was unveiled on June 7, 1997.

US tank in “McAuliffe Square” in Bastogne.

It’s located at THE KEY INTERSECTION that the German armored divisions wanted, but were prevented from getting during the Battle of the Bulge. One block away from this square is “Hotel Melba”!!!! 

Yes....our flag does fly there every day!

 

 


 

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