October 19, 2013 – Biffontaine, France
Over 300 gathered, including sons and daughters, family and friends of the 442, to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the liberation of the town of Biffontaine. The ceremony took place in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains, at the place call Terminal 6, where the battle of the Lost Battalion took place.
Mr. Valentin, Deputy Mayor of Biffontaine, gave the follow speech:
Dear officials, Ladies and Gentlemen, My dear friends,
Today, the town of BIFFONTAINE, surrounded with the committee of Terminal No. 6, is honored by your visit and thank you warmly. At the dawn of the 70th anniversary of the liberation, we are here to prove that forgetting does not exist between our two countries.
In this little area in the Vosges, humble as we are in front of that stone monument, we all bow before our heroes’ courage, in respect and silence.
Today we’re thinking of those young people who came from a beautiful faraway country and who gave their youth and life to our country. They sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Remembering that shows to their families and to you all, my friends, that their supreme sacrifice was not vain.
That sacrifice gave France back its place in the world and helped to fight against the murderous madness of Nazism.
In front of that monument, erected on a site where fierce fightings occurred, we must remember that Freedom is never fully achieved. It is still fragile and it is our duty, to all of us, from the youngest to the eldest, to ensure that freedom and peace remain.
Those thousands of dead people, whose memory will remain etched in our hearts, must be recognized as they should be and that memory must hang over our forests.
In order that our descendants can remember, it is up to us to pass on the History and to preach again and again for a lasting peace between all peoples.
A country must remember the past to build the future.
Before we temporarily leave each other, I’d like to pay my last respect to Jean BIANCHETTI who died on August 10th. He was, with George HENRY, the founder of the monument Terminal No. 6. I wish to express here my gratitude to his family.
I wish you all a great day in BIFFONTAINE.