General Meeting '99
ASSOCIATION NORMANDY 44 - 90th US DIVISION

Introduction

Welcome Words
by President

Moral Report
by Secretary

Financial Report
by Treasurer

Résumé in
Ouest-France

Résumé in
Presse de la Manche

How far are we ?

 


INTRODUCTION

First General Meeting of the Association Normandy 44 - 90th US Division was held on Tuesday, October 19, 1999, at 20.30, at Périers's Civil Centre.

With a view to the first General Meeting, we invited by mail :

Every others, givers or not, were urged to attend the Congress, by means of press :


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WELCOME WORDS BY PRESIDENT

Henri Levaufre
Henri Levaufre

Good evening and welcome to all.

The President should be a happy man.
Often anxious, but it is the fate of every person in charge, concerned about levelling the unforeseen events that strew the life of an active association, but really delighted by the work realized in common and the reached objectives, thanks to the perseverance in effort of the whole team.

The young Association Normandy 44 is going very well .

To my knowledge, but it would come out, no member of the Association is perfect, but all together, we form a compact and efficient group, ready to listen to everything but also to say everything and to go until the end of the taken decisions.

It is the reason that incited us, during our creation, not to envisage the renewal of our Members before three years. For the same reason, we do not recruit members. You will understand that we do not wish our efforts to be dissipated, or decreased our determination to succeed. Stay with no fear, you will have however your speaking opportunities.

Our first objective was to set up a Monument to the memory of Liberators of 1944, and to the recollection of all the victims. We are succeeding, and do not intend at all to slow down our action.

The time will soon come where all the persons of willingness will be welcome for the preparation of the inauguration ceremonies, the reception of the Veterans and the multiple tasks which gravitate around such events. We shall make you sign.

The totality of the collected sums is allocated to the Monument and to the expenses which are directly in connection with it (brochures, mail acknowledgments, post mailing, phone, etc.). Later, when we shall have ended with what is our original urgency, and that our other ideas will have well matured, we shall see which openings have to be made to widen the number of Members.

Orwin Talbott ***
Orwin Talbott ***

We count in our ranks two Veterans of the 90th, Lieutenant General*** Orwin Talbott, who was wounded during the Périers's liberation, and Colonel Hamilton, wounded in the Plessis-Lastelle (Beaucoudray) and again very seriously wounded in September 44, at Hayange. Both asked me, by telephone yesterday, to let you know about their satisfaction to participate in the common work, and how much they are proud of Frenchmen, and more particularly of People of the Périers Country who support such a project.

It is at the mail address of Colonel Hamilton that arrive checks issued by the American givers. The sums so collected are transferred to our local account through Mrs Karen Taylor. So everything is transparent.

Karen Taylor
Karen Taylor

Among others, two persons absent this evening work a lot and almost in the shadow : We are speaking about Mrs Karen Taylor, previously mentioned ; Karen is Chief Editor of the Magazine published by the France Embassy in Washington. She is our invaluable relay on the other side of the Ocean. Our "Public Relation" in the United-States is a young lady, obviously volunteer, cheerful but determined, and having a remarkable efficiency. You will meet her during the inauguration.

François's Notes :

1. Thank's a lot

2. It is impossible to mention all the volunteers, but I wish to thank personally Christian who covers a great part of translations and re-readings
The other discreet worker is my son François. He is the one who developed and realized our Internet site http://assoc.wanadoo.fr/normandy44-90div.us/ He devoted several hundreds of hour to this, taken over his spare times and sleep hours. The work that he began is never ended, because it requires updates and continuous complements. The Members of the Association thought that in all justice he well deserved the title of Benefactor. The reward is there ; we have an original Internet site, bilingual in French / English, already appreciated by more than 2 600 visitors since the beginning of the year. You will find there about 110 pages of text and images in each of the two versions.

Patric Cottencin
Patric Cottencin

There is again another person who works and that you do not know, it's the artist who realizes our Monument. He is the sculptor Patrick Cottencin, whose studio is established near Chartres. We chose him to first create the brochure "the Future of a Memory" that you received, and even more to realize the statues of our four soldiers.
Relations between an artist who has his own work approach, but also his constraints, and a group of amateurs which knows what he wants, but which concepts can be difficult to explain, are not always easy. We appreciate that the good harmony, indispensable for this common work, settled down among us. The result of one of the studies is in front of you. This is the bust of Sergeant Tullio Micaloni, tank leader, killed at the edge of River Sèves in the Carrière-Hausley on July 26, 1944.
Within a month, we shall have the four busts.

Bernard Scarpa, our Secretary, is now going to give you the Moral Report of the Association. He will also explain the projects which are close to our heart, and why not new ideas. Then our accurate Treasurer Bernard Le Grandois will expose to you the Financial Report. It is easy to understand that the number and the quality of your gifts have made his task more pleasant.

We shall have finally a discussion in common, during which we shall try our best to answer your questions.

Just imagine during one moment the emotion of the four American families, next June 4, when we shall unveil the Monument. The brothers, the sisters, the children, will see again such as he was, the one who said them goodbye for the last time before leaving to die in Europe.

Richard, Andrew, Virgil and Tullio and the thousands of the others than they represent, thanks to you, are a little going to come back to life, and in every cases their memory will be preserved.

Richard E. Richtman
Richard E. Richtman

Andrew J. Speese
Andrew J. Speese

Virgil J. Tangborn
Virgil J. Tangborn

Tullio Micaloni
Tullio Micaloni


I thank you for your attention, but also naturally for your gifts which are going to allow to give a concrete expression to our duty of Memory.


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MORAL REPORT BY SECRETARY

Bernard Scarpa
Bernard Scarpa

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A few words at first to thank you for having largely answered our invitation. Our Association needs encouragements. Your presence this evening is one.

I am charged to excuse the absences of :

I would like to salute the presence among us of Doctor Lecerf, Mayor of Périers and President of the Municipalities Community, who is also one of our two Honorary Chairmen. As previously said by Henri Levaufre, you will understand that the second Honorary Chairman, American General Orwin Talbott, residing in Washington, is not with us this evening (let me remind you that General Talbott was a Captain by the time of D-Day Landing, commanding a Company of the 90th, and wounded in Périers on July 26, 1944).


To open this moral report, the first in the history of our young Association, you are invited to make a step backwards, to operate some kind of return to basics, better to understand our motivations and our ambitions.

We are on June 23, 1998. This evening, after a meeting, our friend Henri Levaufre, who is never short of ideas or projects, reminds to all those present that it would be high time to start something concrete in Périers to honour the American fighters of World War II on the Norman ground, and particularly to these Tough Ombres of the 90th Division who released our town on July 27, 1944, after having landed at Utah-Beach on June 6 , 7 and 8.

During the terrible confrontations which marked its progress, the 90th Division suffered enormous losses :

I hope that you will forgive me for these figures, but it was indispensable to remind them. The figures are merciless and give an idea of the hugeness of the sacrifice.

In front of such a balance, how could we then refuse to admit that it is the duty of Périers city and inhabitants to seal for ever in men brain and in time memory that unforgettable events happened here ? How refuse to admit that the sacrifice of these people, able to leave their Texas, their Oklahoma or their native Arizona, to rise in airplanes or in boats, to have to die aged of twenty years, in our land, for us, that this sacrifice has to be respected for eternity ?


Our Association, called Normandy44-90e Division US, was then established all around a handful of persons, under the presidency of its initiator, Henri Levaufre. The statutes were deposited in the Coutances Sub-Prefecture on August 24, 1998. The Association, governed by the Law of 1901, was inserted in the Official Gazette n° 37 of September 12, 1998.

To present you the composition of the Board of Directors, some images are better than a boring enumeration.

Slowly, the idea of a commemorative Monument grew. In the beginning, simple granite stele marked with the TO, patch of the 90th Division. Today, realistic show, in the human scale, of a group of four soldiers, out of any war attitude. We indeed refused any fighters' reproduction with a "Rambo" appearance. We do not want to give to the youth of Périers the image of violence. The Monument will have to express the suffering and arouse respect and meditation. Other great originality : The face of each of the four soldiers will represent the one of GI's having effectively participated in the fights, and dead in this region. We took contact with the families of Tullio Micaloni, Andrew Speese, Virgil Tangborn and Richard Richtman, who at once gave us their agreement and declared themselves honored by this proposition. These families will be moreover present on June 4, 2000, during the official inauguration.

Plaster cast trial bust
Plaster cast trial bust - © P. Cottencin - November 99. Don't search for any resemblance, this is an anonymous study face.
We confided the realization of the Monument to a French sculptor, Patrick Cottencin, who lives and works in Paris and in Eure-et-Loir departement. Patrick Cottencin has all the qualities required to create a majestic work, in the spirit of what we wish. His first work was to realize a model of the Monument, the one that you see there. Repeatedly, Henri, Bernard and me moved near Chartres, to follow in his studio the evolution of the work. I think I can tell you that we will not have to regret our choice. The realization is made in perfect harmony between the artist and us. While keeping his sensibility and his glance of creator on the work, Patrick Cottencin always tries to take into account our opinion. The busts which are here give you an idea of the work in course, here a first study, there a more advanced representation of the tank leader Tullio Micaloni. The Monument will be realized in synthetic resin, a building material which presents the aspect of the bronze, with a tried and tested solidity.

By the same time as this, it was necessary for us to make known our project. We have so very soon opened a Web site, developed by our Webmaster François Levaufre. I would like to thank him publicly for the exceptional work of quality, of perseverance and of creativity, carried out in the realization and the permanent update of this site. Thanks to this site, which offers dozens pages to consult, the project of Normandy 44 opens on the entire planet. But not only Normandy 44, it is Périers and the district that can be discovered, as well from France as from the United-States, or from anywhere else in the world, as we opened pages with texts and illustrations on the Country of Périers, its history, its resources, its natural and built patrimony.

It was also necessary for us to conceive a quality brochure, the one that you received, to launch the subscription that shall finance the Monument. This brochure was published in French and in English.
The Subscription works very strongly, as well in France as in the United-States. We sent more than 1 700 brochures and received near 450 answers. A symbol maybe, our first signer is a Veteran of the 90th, the Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Hamilton, who is also member of our Board of Directors. Bernard Le Grandois will give you in a while all the details on the state of our finances, but it is not to reveal secrets of finance to say that some signers, war Veterans or not, seduced and moved by the project, sent substantial checks, that the Museum of the Airborne Troops of Sainte-Mère-Eglise granted us a financial support of 10 000 F, that the National Office of the War Veterans granted us a subsidy of 10 000 F, that municipalities (all those released by the 90th Division were sought) answered positively, municipalities of La Manche but also of the Meuse or of Meurthe-et-Moselle for example. We hope that the Crédit Agricole Bank, also sought, will meet our expectations. So many partners who, by answering our requests, give evidence of the value of the project and of the interest that they show to it. We had other testimonies, other encouragements on behalf of persons who do not have the custom to commit themselves without thinking in their statements. Allow me to quote, among others, the Representative Alain Cousin, Vice-President of the General Council of La Manche, who declares that "this project deserves the greatest interest and must be supported" ; Mister Jean Le Garrec, former Minister, President of the Committee of the Culture, of Social Affairs and of Family in the National Congress, also came himself to visit our exhibition loft at the Park Tollemer "It is a beautiful project, proper to highlight the sacrifice of the American fighters, to make of Périers a place of pilgrimage for the Veterans and their families, and to give to the town a historic stamp that many will envy". Or even our Mayor and President of the Municipalities Community Didier Lecerf for whom "the project of Normandy 44 goes completely in the direction of the image that the Municipality wants to give of Périers, a city attached to its history and bearer of great hopes for the future".

All of this, naturally, is not self-satisfaction, but only the expression of the official testimonies which strengthen our will to succeed. This project, we have it in ourselves as someone expecting a baby, and we shall have a satisfaction only upon its achievement, and that it will make of our city a privileged stage on the road of the local historic tourism.

I must not forget to tell you that, at the same time as the realization of this Monument, a book on the 90th Division is under writing, under the feather of our President Henri Levaufre. This book also will be published in French and in English.

And that's not all… With the cooperation of the Périers municipality and that of the Municipalities Community, the project took another dimension : on the project of the strictly speaking Monument, the creation of a Place of Memory was added in the former rehabilitated station. This place would shelter all the documents relative to the 90th Division and accumulated by Henri Levaufre in about 35 years of researches. Of this Place of Memory would also leave what we call the Memory Walk, it should be said an avenue that would follow the ancient railroad, transformed into a walking path, and planted of 127 trees, in memory of the 127 civil victims of the Périers's bombardments of June 8 and 13, 1944. We shall be able to discuss about this more in detail later on, if you wish so.

As a conclusion, all the ideas are made to evolve, and we are going to propose another one to you. This Monument, we said it, will have the goal of performing a mission beside the population of Périers, the one to call back permanently the sacrifice of the American fighters. But this mission will be really complete only if it also honours the suffering of the civilians, people from here, as Gilles Perrault would say, marked in their bodies and their possessions by the years of war and occupation. Our memory must unite in the same recollection and in the same respectful honoring the servicemen and the civilians. That is why we would indeed see, at some steps away of the group of US soldiers, a man, a Norman, swamped, sitting on a piece of ruins. Playing near him, a small girl, careless, and who would her, represent the future, the freedom, just the life. Our Association is ready to support the supplementary expense to bring to the Monument this complement which appears to us indispensable, provided naturally that the subscribers carry on their effort to fill the purse of our finance. So, as suggested to me some evening by Claude Pasturel, the Monument would be not only that of the 90th Division, but that of Recollection and Hope. Thank you for your attention.

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FINANCIAL REPORT BY TREASURER

Bernard Le Grandois
Bernard Le Grandois

Bernard Le Grandois Financial Report

Total of the takings on October 18, 1999

282.107,10 F

Total of the expenditure

147.309,38 F

Positive balance

134.797,72 F

The report is accepted unanimously.

Some figures:


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