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Saturday, July 13, 2024

WWII vet to marry after d-day commemorations

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Hundred-year-old World War II veteran Harold Terens will marry his 96-year-old fiancee Saturday in the French town of Carentan-les-Marais, just days after being honoured on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place a few kilometers away.

Terens’s 11:00 am (0900 GMT) wedding to Jeanne Swerlin will be followed by a celebration “with his loved ones, in a small group,” said Sarah Pasquier, the town hall’s representative for D-Day commemorations.

“We are very honored that Mr. Terens has chosen to get married here, in Carentan, where in June 1944 the meeting of Allied troops from the landings at Utah and Omaha beaches took place,” Mayor Jean-Pierre Lhonneur told AFP.

“We will offer him champagne, of course, but also a gift to thank him for having participated in the liberation of France.”

After the ceremony, “depending on his possible fatigue,” Terens may join in a parade of veterans in the centre of Carentan during the afternoon, according to Pasquier.

A liberation ball will also be held in the evening as part of the D-Day commemorations, she said, with attendees “invited to dress in the 1940s theme, and soldiers from the nearby American base welcome.”

“But Mr. Terens and his wife may be too tired to join,” she added.

Terens, who lives with Swerlin in Boca Raton, Florida, was awarded the French Legion of Honour by President Emmanuel Macron in 2019.

After the war Terens married his first wife, Thelma, with whom he spent 70 years and raised three children until her death in 2018.

In 2021, a friend introduced him to Swerlin, a charismatic woman who had also been widowed, and the two have been inseparable practically ever since.

“She lights up my life, she makes everything beautiful,” Terens told AFP in an interview last month in Florida. “She makes life worth living.”

In the same interview, Swerlin said her fiancee was “an unbelievable guy.”

“He’s handsome – and he’s a good kisser.”

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