Maurice Renaud was only two the night of June 6, 1944, when American paratroopers jumped into his hometown of Sainte Mere Eglise.
He now remembers the years following the World War II attack, including eating meals with U.S. Soldiers at his childhood home.
“American paratroopers were always visiting my parents,” Renaud said.
Today, he is the president of the Friends of the American Veterans Association and he traveled to Fort Bragg to donate D-Day memorabilia to the 82nd Airborne Division Museum, Sept. 5.
The donations included a letter from his father, wartime mayor of Sainte Mere Eglise, to a French government official asking for the 82nd to be awarded the French Fourragere for liberating the town. Two drawings by his older brother, Paul, were also donated. One is of the battle on the square and the other of the town church’s stained glass window depicting 82nd troopers parachuting from the sky.
“We have so much history with the American paratrooper it would take three days to tell you,” Renaud said.
Renaud’s mother is also known for her work on behalf of division troopers. Known as the Mother of Normandy, Simone Renaud spent the rest of her life tending to the graves of American Soldiers and contacting their loved ones.
Due to the tie he and his Family have with the division, Renaud said he felt it was time to pass these historic mementoes on to the museum to be shared with others. He said it was also important to show the appreciation the people of Sainte Mere Eglise and Normandy have for division paratroopers.
“It’s a great feeling and rewarding to share this history,” he said.
“It’s a tremendous honor to host Monsieur Renaud, son of wartime mayor of Sainte Mere Eglise,” said Maj. Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., 82nd Airborne Division commander who accepted the donations on behalf of the museum.
“His family not only helped our troopers in combat, but has honored them ever since. These mementoes will help us continue to honor their legacy in the future.”