Nous avons fini a Fénétrange

Posted on by As Promised

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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