John and Jacqueline

As we commemorate today the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Allied forces in Normandy on Omaha beach on June 6 1944, there is another aspect of the war we want to show you: that of the love that was born between two people from countries as culturally different as they were geographically apart, but brought together by war.

He, John Roman, was a young American who’d signed up to intervene in the brutal D-day combats to liberate France from Nazi occupation. She, Jacqueline, was a young French girl of 17, whose father was so strict she was hardly allowed to go out even when the war had ended. John invited her to dance, but she was so shy she initially turned him down. He insisted, and finally she accepted so he’d stop bugging her.

“That was 70 years ago now,” she says today, “And he still hasn’t stopped bugging me.” Their marriage followed soon after.

Their story isn’t an uncommon one: among the infinite flings and fleeting love affairs of the D-Day celebrations, there were around 6,000 men who asked their new loves to marry them on the morning after la Libération, or shortly afterwards. It’s a beautiful life lesson we can take from all these love stories: even in the darkest moments of history, love is still present, and it conquers all.

 

 

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