Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Mr. MILLER of Florida.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the enduring spirit and gratitude of the people of the United States and France as exemplified through the mutual friendship of the sister cities of Crestview, Florida, and the French island city of Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile.
The island of Noirmoutier, located off the west coast of France near Nantes and Saint-Nazaire, maintains an inextricable link with our Nation’s military history. On July 4, 1943, while America was celebrating the date of its independence, an American B-17 crash-landed right on the beach of the small Noirmoutier village of la Gueriniere.
This Flying Fortress was returning to England after a bombing run on the Nazi-held airfield outside Saint-Nazaire during World War II. Though the crew survived, the Nazi occupation forces on Noirmoutier got to the Americans before the island’s underground partisans could rescue them, and the crew was imprisoned for the duration of the war.
To this day, the people of Noirmoutier refuse to clear the wreckage of the B-17.
Even for the island’s youngest generation, it acts as a vivid reminder of the sacrifices made by France’s American allies toward the cause of liberating France, and Europe, from the scourge of Nazi occupation, deprivation, and brutality. On Commemoration Day, Sunday, June 30, 2013, a monument will be unveiled on Noirmoutier dedicated to the courageous crew of that fateful B-17 and to all Americans who worked so selflessly to obtain France’s liberation from the Nazis.
On behalf of the United States Congress and the citizens of Northwest Florida, I am privileged to recognize the friendship between the people of Northwest Florida and Noirmoutier and join them in honoring the service and sacrifice of all men and women who sacrifice their lives in the name of freedom.