On June 6, 1944, five different beaches in Normandy were stormed by American, Canadian and British troops to free Europe from German occupation.

Since then each year on June 6, thousands of visitors among a few veterans of the 1944 combat, make the trip to France to pay their respects to the American soldiers reposing in the cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer. In marking the 70th anniversary of the battle the gratitude of the French people remains immense.

I am from Normandy, the city of Caen, which was destroyed in June 1944 by the terrible bombing. My family and I found refuge in the crypt of St. Trinity church. It was a terrible experience, one I will never forget .

While many focus on the countless lives lost during the war, I prefer to think of the young heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to save the people of a country that had lost so much to the war. These men came from far away and many died on the beaches of Normandy that day.

If I could speak to the children and grandchildren of these fallen soldiers, I would let them know how grateful the French people are for their sacrifice.

I'm a French-born American citizen, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you.

Vive l'Amerique. Vive la France.

PAULETTE ESCOFFIER

Clearview Drive

James Island