of a man
is to be
A Project of the California-Nevada-Hawaii District of
Kiwanis International Est. Sept 1995
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.
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
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
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.
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 ...
statue of Iron Mike
A replica of "The
Airborne Trooper" stands above the bridge atLa FiereinNormandy,
where on June 6–9, 1944 members of505th Parachute
Infantry Regimentand 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”!!!!