CARENTAN, France (June 5, 2014) -- Soldiers with the 1st Infantry Division, alongside troops from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the 75th Ranger Regiment, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the 10th Special Forces Group, as well as French and German soldiers, helped dedicate a new memorial dedicated to the 101st Airborne Division, here, yesterday.
The memorial honors the famed 101st, but is a monument that represents all the men who liberated the city from the Germans, in 1944. The ceremony featured 26 men who landed on Omaha and Utah beaches, June 6, 1944. Near the conclusion of the ceremony, the men were awarded the French Legion of Merit medal for their hard-fought victory 70 years ago.
"The secret to happiness is freedom," Jean Pierre Lhonneur, the city's mayor, said. "And the secret to freedom is courage. All of you American veterans are courageous and will forever be remembered for that."
Several hundred citizens of the city attended the event, many of who waved American flags. The crowd cheered loudly as each veteran was called over the speakers when given their medal.
"Our past has created for us a common future," Lhonneur said. "It is our great honor to be with you here today. The soil here is yours, forever."
After the conclusion of the ceremony, the allied forces marched through the city as the citizens lined the streets to pay their respects.