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WWII veteran ties the knot with 96-year-old bride near Normandy’s D-Day beaches | UK News

A centenarian World War II veteran has tied the knot with his bride in a ceremony near Normandy’s D-Day beaches.

Harold Terens – a 100-year-old US Army Air Force veteran – called it “the best day of my life” as he today married 96-year-old Jeanne Swerlin.

On her way to the ceremony, the bride-to-be said: “It’s not just for young people, love, you know? We get butterflies. And we get a little action, also.”

She also said her sweetheart was the “greatest kisser ever”.

The pair married in the town hall of Carentan, a key initial D-Day objective that witnessed fierce fighting after the Allied landings on 6 June 1944.

The vast amphibious invasion helped pushed back Nazi forces until Germany was forced to surrender a year later.

Along with other towns and villages across the northern French coastline, Carentan is hosting remembrance events to mark 80 years since nearly 160,000 Allied troops invaded five code-named beaches while under heavy fire.

Well-wishers commemorating the anniversary lined the streets outside the ceremony.

US WWII veteran Harold Terens, 100, left, and Jeanne Swerlin, 96, kiss from a window after celebrating their wedding at the town hall of Carentan-les-Marais, in Normandy, northwestern France, on Saturday, June 8, 2024. Together, the collective age of the bride and groom was nearly 200. But Terens and his sweetheart Jeanne Swerlin proved that love is eternal as they tied the knot Saturday inland of the D-Day beaches in Normandy, France. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez)
Image:
Pic: AP

US WWII veteran Harold Terens, 100, left, and Jeanne Swerlin, 96, arrive to celebrate their wedding at the town hall of Carentan-les-Marais, in Normandy, northwestern France, on Saturday, June 8, 2024. Together, the collective age of the bride and groom was nearly 200. But Terens and his sweetheart Jeanne Swerlin proved that love is eternal as they tied the knot Saturday inland of the D-Day beaches in Normandy, France. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez)
Image:
Pic: AP

After both saying “oui” to vows read by Carentan’s mayor Jean-Pierre Lhonneur in English, the newlyweds exchanged rings.

With Champagne flutes in hand, they waved through an open window to the crowds outside.

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“To everybody’s good health. And to peace in the world and the preservation of democracy all over the world and the end of the war in Ukraine and Gaza,” the groom said.

Mr Terens enlisted in 1942 and, after shipping to Britain, was attached to a four-pilot P-47 Thunderbolt fighter unit as their radio repair technician.

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On D-Day he helped repair planes returning from France so they could return to battle. He said half his company’s pilots died that day.

The airman went to France himself 12 days later, helping transport freshly captured Germans and just-freed American POWs to England.

On Saturday evening the happy couple attended a state dinner at the Elysee Palace with President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden.

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“Congratulations to the newlyweds,” President Macron said in a toast praising French-American friendship.

The wedding was symbolic, as the mayor isn’t empowered to wed non-resident foreigners of Carentan, and the couple hadn’t requested legally-binding vows, the mayor’s office said.

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