The meeting happened after K.T. Robbins, now aged 98 and an American veteran of the Normandy D-Day landings, took part in a documentary for news network France 2, for the 75th anniversary of the landings.
Speaking to reporters, he told the story of how he had met and fallen in love with a French woman from the city of Briey (Meurthe-et-Moselle), Jeannine Pierson-Ganaye, and always wanted to see her again.
They had a two-month love affair while Mr Robbins was stationed in Briey, but their time was cut short when he had to leave for war. He had always thought he might go back for her afterwards, but never did so. Now, he hoped to finally go back to the town.
He said: “Her name is Jeannine. I remember her well, I would like to go back there and find her family. I don't think I'll see her unfortunately. She's probably gone.”
But France 2 reporters were able to locate her and discovered that she is still alive, now aged 92, and living at a retirement home in Montigny-lès-Metz (Moselle). The network then set up a meeting between the two former sweethearts.
Pendant toutes ces années, ils n’ont jamais cessé de s’aimer. Les journalistes de @France2tv, ont réussi à organiser leurs retrouvailles, très émouvantes, en France. « Il dit qu’il m’aime, moi aussi. J’ai toujours pensé à lui », confie Jeannine Pierson-Ganaye. pic.twitter.com/7ztj8fac90— France 2 Washington (@F2Washington) June 10, 2019
Nearly 75 years after they last saw each other, the two hugged and kissed, and spent several hours talking about the war, and recalling their time together in 1944.
Ms Pierson-Ganaye, said: “I always thought about him too. I was wondering where he was. I always wondered, ‘will he come back’? Why did he wait so long? I would have loved for him to come sooner. When he left in the truck, I cried, of course. I was very sad. I hoped that after the war, he would not go back to the US.”
But he did, and both married other people and had children in the intervening years. Both are now widowed.
Mr Robbins explained: “When you get married, you just don’t do it [visit other lovers]. That’s all.”
Now, the two have plans to meet up again. As Mr Robbins left Ms Pierson-Ganaye’s retirement home, he said: “It is so good to see you, I have tears in my eyes. Jeannine, I love you darling. You never got out of my heart.”
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