My wife, Joanne, and I recently had the honor of attending the Commemoration Ceremony on 6/30/18 of the 75th Anniversary of the crash of B-17 “NYMOKYMI” Tail # 42-29960 in Belfonds, France on July 4, 1943.
Clifford was co-pilot of the B-17. He was captured by the Nazis and was a POW until the end of the war. He passed away in December 2015 at 95.
As descendants of one of the crew we, along with known descendants of other crewmembers Gordon Erickson, and Francis Hackley and Frank Wingerter, were invited to attend as honored guests. Additionally, we were housed by, and got to know, local families so this ceremony was pretty special. So special that we made the local Normandy newspaper the next day – original article in French with photo; English translation also included.
The events on Saturday started with a 930AM, mass followed by a ceremony at the monument with local dignitaries, officials and veterans groups in attendance. This was followed by an elaborate 3 hour meal at the town hall function room along with a choral group singing and more speeches.
The next day, after a mid-day 2 hour outdoor barbeque dinner – we were certainly well fed! – Bernard Chevalier took us on a tour of the local sites related to the B-17 crash.
The dedication of the townspeople of Belfonds in honoring the American Airmen that crashed there on July 4, 1943, their persistence in verifying that the events are as accurately recorded as possible and never forgetting the sacrifices made by the local French Resistance in saving the American Airmen is truly outstanding. What an honor to be a part of this tribute to our forefathers.
May we never forget.