April 26, 2002
FRANCE WANTS TO SAY "THANK YOU" TO WWII VETERANS:
APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR AWARD IS APPROACHING
Charlotte, NC -- France wants to show its gratitude and say "thank you" to the Americans who fought on French soil, territorial waters and airspace in WWII and helped to liberate the country. Area eligible veterans must respond by May 5, in order to receive their certificate from a French Consulate General during a planned May 16, ceremony in Charlotte.
The Mecklenburg County Veterans Service Office wants the call to go out to alert local veterans of World War II who served in France between June 6, 1944 to May 8, 1945 and participated in the Normandy landing. So far, 55 eligible veterans are set to receive their certificate.
Consul General of France who is based in Atlanta, plans to award "Thank-You-America" certificates to eligible veterans during an 11 a.m. ceremony on Thursday, May 16, in the meeting chamber of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E. Fourth St.
Robert Weeks, director of the Mecklenburg County Veterans Service Office, said his office must have the completed application and a copy of the veteran's discharge papers as proof of service. Because of the short period of time, Weeks is asking veterans to fax the material (704-336-4449), or hand-deliver it to the County's veteran's service office at 700 N. Tryon Street, between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
"I think it's important to pay homage to those who took part in that very important operation, which was the liberation of France," Weeks said. "So many are dying at an alarming rate," Weeks said. "They should be recognized while they are living."
The certificate is not awarded posthumously. French authorities have been awarding the certificates since December 2000 as a way to express the gratitude of the people of France. Weeks said his office will plan a local award ceremony later in the year for those eligible veterans who do not make the cut-off date to receive their certificate from the Consul General of France.
Veteran's can go on-line at
http://www.info-france-usa.org and type "WWII certificate" in the search area to get an application. The application is also available at the County's Veteran's Service Office.