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We made it home safe and sound.

The Journey is over, but the work has only just begun.

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Flight Delay

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Due to a worker’s strike at Iceland Airlines, our flight is delayed until…???

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Amazing Journey

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We’re at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, waiting to check-in for our flight.  It’s been an amazing journey in so many ways.

Thank you everyone for your continued support!

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We made the French papers!

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Here are a few links to the articles that were recently in some of the French papers about Ken’s return to Fénétrange.   At least 4 different articles in 2 papers!

This was the poster that was displayed in the windows of the news stands throughout the Lorrain region of France  on June 2nd. It reads, “The Beautiful Story of the GI from Fénetrange.”

Here is the front page of the Sarrebourg section of the Le Républicain-Lorrain

Here are the links to the online version of the articles:

http://www.republicain-lorrain.fr/actualite/2011/06/02/le-retour-du-gi-sur-les-terres-de-sa-promise

http://www.republicain-lorrain.fr/moselle/2011/06/02/le-soldat-americain-et-sa-princesse-dans-la-cour-du-chateau

http://www.republicain-lorrain.fr/moselle/2011/06/02/la-derniere-bataille-du-gi-pour-sa-promise

Friday we started the day exploring the Vosges mountains and hamlets around the area of Gertwiller, before heading to Strasbourg.

While on our way across the Rhine to Kehl, Germany we spotted this Sherman Tank commemorating the 2nd French Armored Division’s liberation of Strasbourg on November 23rd, 1944.  Ken said this was one of the highlights of the trip for him as he remembers delivering messages to the division many times.

Had a bit of a mis-hap with Ken’s brand-new wheel chair.  One of the front wheel hubs basically fell apart.  Greg’s put it back together with some epoxy – so we’ll see how it handles tomorrow.

We are spending the night in Rouen.  Tomorrow morning we head for the 67th D-Day Commemorations near Ste-Mere-Eglise.

For today, we’ll leave you with a shot of the now abandoned train station in Fénétrange:

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Donations Update!

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Some donation updates:  Paul & Kim Sackett-Rowekamp $15, Matthew Isaacson $50, Gloria Vandemmeltraadt $25.00, Richard Smith $100, Sharon Burtman $25, Sandy Burtman $50, Nancy Still Pass $50, Leah Carlson $75 and Katie Whipple – a SECOND donation of $400!!!  THANK YOU all!!!

Donation can be made on Donations page.

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Nous avons fini a Fénétrange

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It’s been an exhausting, yet exhilarating last few days.  Now we have a chance to catch everyone up on what we’ve been doing – at least until our internet access goes away again.

First, an explanation of the photos from our last post.  While visiting the Arc d’Triomphe, we saw several older men carrying French flags and wearing military medals.  We introduced Ken to one of the men and the next thing we knew, we were all ushered into the middle of a formal ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Ken was placed in line with several decorated French veterans and was thanked by French 5-star General Cuche, gouverneur de Paris, général d’armée.

The next day we headed to the Alsace-Lorrain region in northeastern France.  Despite a slight navigational error, we greatly enjoyed the beautiful French countryside.

Around 8pm we finally arrived in Sarrebourg at the home of Charles & Marthe Klein (Marguerite’s brother and sister-in-law).

Charles Klein greeting Ken for the first time in 67 years.

Marthe Klein and two of her grandchildren Vianney and Jean Zimmerlin.

The next day, we attended a church service with Charles, Marthe and their daughter Lisa and her family, where Ken met Marguerite’s husband Gérard Ney.

Ken and Gérard Ney meeting for the first time.

The next day we went to Fénétrange.  First we entered through the gateway to the castle.

Author/C0-Producer Lee Burtman & Ken standing in the gateway to Fénétrange Castle.

Ken and Charles in front of the former Klein home, where he lived for 4 months and first met Marguerite.

The Sarre River as it flows behind the Castle, where Ken and Marguerite often spent time together.

Over the last couple of days Ken has met one of Marguerite’s cousins, a friend who remembers the would-be wedding day and we’ve been followed by local reporters and photographers who are also covering Ken’s story.  Today he was given a special ceremony by the Mayor of Fénétrang, where he also met the woman who made Marguerite’s wedding dress and the son of the man who baked her wedding cake.

Mme Nicole Horvat, Mayor of Fénétrange poses with Ken for a press photo after presenting him with gifts from the citizens of Fénétrange.

Ken proudly displays his new hat from the Union Nationale des Combattants.

We had tear-filled moments as Ken visited the church where he and Marguerite would have been married and stood at her grave – to fulfill his promise and to say goodbye one last time.  Both very difficult moments for everyone here, but also uplifting and healing.  At one point, as Ken was relaying his feelings about being here, he thanked everyone for all of their support in helping make this possible – through your prayers, donations and well-wishes.  He is truly humbled and grateful for the opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream.

It’s been quite a whirl-wind of days, events, reunions, first-meetings and emotions.  Very tiresome but extremely rewarding for everyone.  We’ve been met with warm welcomes, open arms, amazingly good food and gracious gifts from everyone we encounter wherever we go.  We’ll now head to Normandy and will post another update as soon as we can.

Please remember that donation can be made on our Donations page.

Ken, Greg Burtman and Troy LaFaye on the streets of Fénétrange.

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Update 5/31/11

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Between a VERY busy schedule and intermittent internet access, we have not been able to update the blog as much as we would have liked.

We are in Alsace now.  Getting some great perspective on Ken’s experience here.

Here’s a photo of an amazing event that we just happen to literally walk into while visiting l’Arc d’ Triomphe in Paris a few days ago.  This French 5-star General Cuche, gouverneur de Paris, général d’armée shaking Ken’s hand at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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Paris Day 2 & 3

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Some amazing things happened yesterday.  We’re traveling to Fénétrange today, so I don’t have time to post details.  Will try to update later.  Stay tuned!

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Paris

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Just arrived in Paris.  Waiting in line to get the rental car.  We’ll take the rest of the day off to rest up from the travel.  Ken’s  a bit tired and warm (rather toasty here in Paris), but otherwise in good spirits.  He’s been singing “Last Time I Saw Paris.”

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Now Boarding!

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Still at the airport.  Plane was a few hours late and now appears to require repairs. The plane needed some work, but we just got the ok to start loading.  Here are some photos we shot while waiting.  Next Stop — ICELAND!

Lee & Greg Burtman, Paul & Ken Krueger, Troy LaFaye

As you can see, Ken is pretty excited:

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