NO ! They Have Not Been Forgotten !!
The following is a speech given by Frank W. Towers, a former veteran of the
liberation of Normandy in 1944, at the dedication ceremony of "Les
Fleurs de la Memoire" on 8 June 2002, at the Normandy-American Cemetery
at Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy France.
NO ! They Have Not Been Forgotten !!
Far from the beautiful shores of America, many of our fallen sons lie
on foreign soil today.
Long ago in battle, the bodies of these heroes were brought down by an
enemy action, and they have laid here for all of these many years.
By whose decision do they still remain on foreign soil, rather than being
taken home to their families' local cemetery? Have they just been forgotten??
Such questions need a lot of soul searching, deep thought, and delving
into the reasons why.
First, to relieve your mind and curiosity, the answer is a resounding
"NO", they have not been forgotten!
The loss of a loved one can never be forgotten.
War is Hell on Earth! The dead bear witness to this!
Long ago when these men were killed in Normandy during WWII in Europe,
comrade by comrade, they were buried in temporary graves near where they
fell. Later, they were reinterred in a more permanent site, landscaped
and well cared for by our United States government.
Over the next few years, families were given the option of having their
loved one's returned to the United States, for reburial in their local
cemetery and family plot, to facilitate frequent visits by all family
On the other hand, many families made their soul searching decision to
have their beloved son or husband remain on foreign soil where they had
fallen, along with their comrades, for the cause of Freedom and Liberty,
and to be among their comrades who had also sacrificed their life for
the same reason.
Here they are by the thousands. Who is ever going to think of them or
care for their grave or pay them an occasional visit and tribute?
Do You Ever Think of Them?? "YES"!!
"Let Us Never Forget Them"
All of the cemeteries on foreign soil were donated in perpetuity to the
government of the United States of America, for all time into the future.
The American Battle Monuments Commission was given the task of beautifying
each site on its own merits for size, landscaping and the general layout
plan. So, here these heroes lie forever.
It is very heartwarming to know that many of these graves have been adopted
by You, members of "Les Fleurs de la Memoire", a great
cross section of society, young, old, male, female, and all with a common
spirit of satisfaction, Love and Thanks, for the Freedom and Liberty that
you experience and enjoy today.
You, the adoptive families, have not forgotten the trials and tribulations
that you or your families had endured during the 4 years, 4 months and
4 days of occupation by the German Nazi and Tyrannical oppressors.
It was these many heroes who have remained behind, to become the symbol
of Freedom and Liberty for the French people, and this gives them the
opportunity to express their most sincere and warm Thanks and feeling
of Love and appreciation to these heroes.
As one person related to me: "We were Born Again! We were given
the opportunity to start out on a new life".
Another simply said: "We owe it to them - they gave their 'all'
On and on it will go, with continual tribute paid to our men on many
special occasions, as well as personal and private tributes paid on a
You, as members of "Les Fleurs de la Memoire", have
made a dream come true for many of the families of these fallen heroes,
as well as for myself.
I wish to sincerely Thank the Board of Directors for their dedication
and efforts to make "Les Fleurs de la Memoire" such a
grand success in such a short time.
NO! They have not Been Forgotten!!
Viva la France!! Viva les Etats Unis!!