Headlines

A World War II veteran just married his bride near Normandy’s D-Day beaches. He’s 100, she’s 96

Share with:


Loading

A World War II veteran just married his bride near Normandy’s D-Day beaches. He’s 100, she’s 96

0 seconds of 1 minute, 0Volume 90%

Together, the collective age of the bride and groom was nearly 200. But World War II veteran Harold Terens and his sweetheart Jeanne Swerlin proved that love is eternal as they tied the knot Saturday inland of the D-Day beaches in Normandy, France. Their respective ages — he’s 100, she’s a youngster of just 96 — made their nuptials an almost double-century celebration. The location was the elegant stone-worked town hall of Carentan, a key initial D-Day objective that saw ferocious fighting after the June 6, 1944, Allied landings that helped rid Europe of Adolf Hitler’s tyranny. (AP video/John Leicester)Photos

12

BY  JOHN LEICESTERUpdated 1:28 PM MST, June 8, 2024Share

CARENTAN-LES-MARAIS, France (AP) — Together, the collective age of the bride and groom was nearly 200. But World War II veteran Harold Terens and his sweetheart Jeanne Swerlin proved that love is eternal as they tied the knot Saturday inland of the D-Day beaches in Normandy, France.

Their respective ages — he’s 100, she’s a youngster of just 96 — made their nuptials an almost double-century celebration.

Terens called it ″the best day of my life.″

On her way into the nuptials, the bubbly bride-to-be said: “It’s not just for young people, love, you know? We get butterflies. And we get a little action, also.″

The location was the elegant stone-worked town hall of Carentan, a key initial D-Day objective that saw ferocious fighting after the June 6, 1944, Allied landings that helped rid Europe of Adolf Hitler’s tyranny.

Like other towns and villages across the Normandy coast where nearly 160,000 Allied troops came ashore under fire on five code-named beaches, it’s an effervescent hub of remembrance and celebration on the 80th anniversary of the deeds and sacrifices of young men and women that day, festooned with flags and bunting and with veterans feted like rockstars.

As the swing of Glenn Miller and other period tunes rang out on the streets, well-wishers — some in WWII-period clothes — were already lined up a good hour before the wedding, behind barriers outside the town hall, with a rousing pipe and drum band also on hand to serenade the happy couple.

RELATED COVERAGE

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, second left, greets World War II veterans at the international ceremony at Omaha Beach, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Normandy, France. Normandy is hosting various events to officially commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place on June 6, 1944. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool)

At D-Day ceremony, American veteran hugs Ukraine’s Zelenskyy and calls him a savior

FILE - People attend a multinational parachute drop to commemorate the contribution of airborne forces on D-Day as part of the 80th anniversary of D-Day, in Sannerville, Normandy, France, June 5, 2024. A contingent of U.S. lawmakers from the House of Representatives is also preparing for a commemorative parachute jump at Normandy on Friday, June 6. Organized by Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., and Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., the bipartisan group is expected to include 10 congressmen, all veterans themselves (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)

Members of Congress commemorate D-Day with their own parachute jump over Normandy

FILE - Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel looks to the crowd during a Veterans Days observance at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the 40th anniversary of its dedication in Washington, Nov. 11, 2022. Hagel is co-chairman of the Veterans Justice Commission, which provided the model for a new Nebraska law that makes judicial diversion available statewide to help keep military veterans out of jail. The commission estimates that nearly 200,000 military veterans are in prisons and jails across the country. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

A new Nebraska law makes court diversion program available to veterans. Other states could follow

After both declaring “oui” to vows read by Carentan’s mayor in English, the couple exchanged rings.

“With this ring, I thee wed,” Terens said.

She giggled and gasped, “Really?”

With Champagne flutes in hand, they waved through an open window to the adoring crowds outside.

“To everybody’s good health. And to peace in the world and the preservation of democracy all over the world and the end of the war in Ukraine and Gaza,” Terens said as he and his bride then clinked glasses and drank.

The crowd yelled “la mariée!” – the bride! — to Swerlin, who wore a long flowing dress of vibrant pink. Terens looked dapper in a light blue suit and matching pink kerchief in his breast pocket.

And they enjoyed a very special wedding-night party: They were invited to the state dinner at the Elysee Palace on Saturday night with President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Joe Biden.

“Congratulations to the newlyweds,” Macron said, prompting cheers and a standing ovation from other guests during the toast praising French-American friendship. “(The town of) Carentan was happy to host your wedding, and us, your wedding dinner,” he told the couple.

The wedding was symbolic, not binding in law. Mayor Jean-Pierre Lhonneur’s office said he wasn’t empowered to wed foreigners who aren’t residents of Carentan, and that the couple, who are both American, hadn’t requested legally binding vows. However, they could always complete those formalities back in Florida if they wished.

Lhonneur likes to say that Normandy is practically the 51st state of the USA, given its reverence and gratitude for Allied soldiers and the sacrifices of tens of thousands who never made it home from the Battle of Normandy.

“Love is eternal, yes, maybe,” the mayor said, referring to the newlyweds, although his comments also fittingly describe the feelings of many Normans for veterans.

“I hope for them the best happiness together.”

Share with:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights